Text and photos by Steev Riccardo
Hopedale – The Bartlett Indians gave up 49 first-half points and were then outscored by 23 points in the second half in an 86-53 blowout loss to the Hopedale Blue Raiders in a rough season opener on Friday.
The Blue Raiders started quickly and scored the first six points of the game, but the Indians stayed close as junior forward Alex Givins-Perry scored six points and Akeem Belnavis and Matt Huberdault each connected on three point shots making it 24-20 in a high scoring first quarter.
Givins-Perry suffered an ankle sprain near the end of the opening quarter that appeared to cripple his game for the first of the night. His injury coupled with poor defense and an inability to the stop the Blue Raiders up-tempo offense put the Indians in a ten-point 49-39 deficit at the half.
Outscored 21-7 in the third quarter, the Indians were behind by 24 points 70-46 after three quarters and head coach Tony Paranto went to his bench and could only watch his team get dominated.
“Losing Alex was a big factor, not to take away from what he can do for us but we have the people that can step into that spot and they didn’t,” said Paranto on the loss of one of his key players Givins-Perry.
“The bottom line was that we stunk up the joint. I can’t take one positive thing out of this game. They beat us at our own game. We are supposed to be up-tempo and they did it against us,” said the very disappointed coach, whose team starts the season with three games on the road.
“We had a very good learning experience here and I think it’s going to be a wakeup call for us hopefully. The schedule is not going to get any easier and if we don’t figure it out that we are not as good as everyone says right now (its going to be rough). We have to really dig down defensively to generate our offense.”
Belnavis led the Indians with 18 points, all in the first half. Huberdault added 10 points, while sophomore center Jacob Mailloux, playing in his first varsity game, finished with 8 points.
The Bartlett jayvees looked spectacular in their season opener beating Hopedale 58-47. In a tremendous team effort, sophomore Jacob Simonis led all scorers with 17 points. Sophomore AJ Caddell contributed 9 points and rookie eight-grader Anthony Grzembskihad a nice debut with 8 points for the green.
The Indians take on the Tantasqua Warriors Tuesday, December 11 in Fiskdale and then travel to Northbridge with a big game against the Rams on Friday, December 14. The Indians and the Rams had a memorable double overtime thriller early last season.
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