By Steev Riccardo
The Bartlett Indians opened their basketball season in style with a solid 65-48 victory on the road over David Prouty of Spencer this past Friday night.
The Indians wasted no time using a pressing defense to create points and open an 18-6 lead after the first quarter. The 6’1” senior point guard Nick Kobel led the way with seven early points, while 6’2” power forward DJ Kirby-Thomas added five points.
The 6’ 2” junior guard Akeem Belnavis helped the Indians open a huge lead in the second quarter by hitting three shots behind the three-point line, while also playing some stellar defense.
Prouty put together a small run at the end of the half, but the Indians still maintained a dominant 38-23 at halftime.
“We had that nice stretch run in the first quarter and at the beginning of the second quarter and we had a nice lead, but we fell asleep a little,” said Bartlett Head Coach Tony Paranto. “We are trying to work on our consistency. We had them by 25 at one time and let them creep back into it at the end of the first half.”
The Indians picked up were they left off in the third quarter, getting a nice spark from 6’0” sophomore Alex Givens-Perry, who hit some big shots and played solid defense. They took a 54-39 lead into the final quarter.
Kobel did a great job of running the offense and played pressuring Prouty’s point guard down the stretch, and the visitors preserved their first win of the season. The senior point guard still sees room for improvement. “Obviously there is some stuff we can work on. We had some first game jitters but overall it was a decent first game. We try and create a lot of our offense from our defense.”
Paranto agreed for the most part, “Our defense is going to dictate where we are going this year. I thought our press was good at times but at other times we got sloppy. The way we play getting a big lead is going to help us throughout the course of the season.”
Kobel led all scorers with19 points and six assists and ran the offense with authority and showed great leadership throughout. He and his coach also had a tremendous supporting cast that made significant contributions.
Paranto praised his junior guard who was outstanding in the supporting roll, scoring 18 points and added three steals on the defensive end. “Belnavis gave us a big lift tonight. His three-point shooting in the first half catapulted us to that pretty big lead.”
Belnavis credited his work ethic and his coach for his performance. “Hard work pays off. I’ve been staying after practice and working on threes and the coach gave me the green light so I shot them.”
A real surprise for the Indians was Givens-Perry, who transferred to Bartlett from Doherty High School in Worcester in the fall. He showed great poise on both ends of the floor with 8 points and 9 rebounds.
Despite some early foul trouble Kirby-Thomas also played well, adding 10 Points. Junior Matt Huberdault, who played tenacious defense and 6’4” Andrew Meloche also played well off the bench for the Indians.
The Bartlett Junior Varsity squad, consisting of all freshmen players this season, dropped the opener 61-37. They were led in scoring by Neil Flanagan, who had 13 points, and Anthony Higbie, who added 11. Point guard AJ Caddell also played well in the loss.
The Indians face Northbridge in their home opener on Friday night. The Junior Varsity game is at 5:30 p.m., while the Varsity starts at 7 p.m.
- Monday, 19 December 2011
- Posted in Categories: : Sports