Huberdault, Belnavis, lead way
By Steev Riccardo
The Bartlett Indians used an effective pressing defense and some timely outside shooting to beat the Millbury Woolies 74-69 on Friday night in a Southern Worcester County League game played at the Bartlett gym in Webster.
Sparked by the hot shooting of junior Matt Huberdault and the strong second half play of fellow junior Akeem Belnavis, who brought the crowd to its feet with a huge third quarter steal and slam-dunk, the Indians were in control most of the night en route to their eighth win of the season.
The Indians came out quick and took a 21-10 first quarter lead, primarily due to three long range three-pointers by Huberdault and a clutch three-pointer at the buzzer by senior co-captain Nick Kobel.
A strong Woolies defense put the clamps on the Indians, not allowing them to score until half way through the second quarter. Alex Givens-Perry finally broke the drought with a big offensive rebound and basket. Despite being outscored 16-12, the Indians still led 33-30 at the break.
The Indians came out in the second half with their signature full court press that forced the Woolies to turn the ball over on numerous occasions, but when the visitors broke the press they were able to hit some long shots that kept them in the game.
Indians co-captain and power forward DJ Kirby-Thomas, who was in a real battle all night long with Woolies big-man Tristan Cano, led the way with seven tough third quarter points as the Indians maintained a slim 50-46 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The athletic Belnavis, who had 12 huge second-half points, was a real spark on both ends of the court and brought the house down with a huge steal and breakaway slam-dunk at the 4:39 mark.
Still the Woolies didn’t make it easy, hitting a bunch more long range shots to keep it close, but the Indians made their free throws down the stretch and held on for the victory.
Bartlett Head Coach Tony Paranto was pleased with the win but still saw some room for improvement in his team’s play. “I thought we did a pretty good job with our press, they had a lot of turnovers, but it seems like every time they did got the ball down the other end of the court, we couldn’t find their outside shooters. We didn’t cover back defensively and that is something we need to correct.”
Paranto also went on to praise his junior co-captain Huberdault, “He has given us a good spark. He’s finding his stroke right now, which is good. We need him obviously as we get down to the stretch run. It couldn’t happen at a better time.”
Givens-Perry continued to give the Indians a strong presence on the inside, having another strong game scoring 10 points, and more importantly, snagging 12 rebounds, which has been his average all season long.
The Bartlett junior varsity squad defeated Millbury 55-48 behind a solid game from Anthony “the bull” Caffarelli, who had a season high 13 points. Anthony Higbie added 12 points and Jacob Semonis scored 10 points for the winners.
The Indians play the Oxford Pirates Tuesday the 24th. Go to http://www.patriotnewspaper.com/ to read the story on-line. On Friday the 8-3 Indians take on their key rivals the Shepherd Hill Rams, who were also 8-3 heading into last night’s game versus the Uxbridge Spartans.
- Sunday, 22 January 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Sports