Berlin boys basketball shows its still learning as season goes along

Published on Tuesday, 30 January 2018 22:56


BRISTOL - At first glance, the Berlin boys basketball team’s roster is one filled with plenty of veteran players - upperclassmen that have played meaningful minutes over the seasons.

That just hasn’t necessarily been the case this season.

Even with six seniors and six juniors filling out the team, the Redcoats are still in the process of learning to play consistently at the varsity level.

“We have some seniors but we’re very inexperienced,” Berlin head coach Mike Veneziano said. “We returned eight points per game from last year.”

At times, that inexperience has caused the Redcoats some issues as Berlin has struggled against bigger and more physical teams this season.

In the recent loss against Bristol Central, a tournament-bound team, the Redcoats once again struggled with rebounding in what has been a common theme for Berlin this season. The Redcoats have yet to beat a winning team this year.

Part of that has been the result of opposing teams being able to outrebound Berlin, an outlier from past teams at the school.

“We’re not a typical Berlin team,” Veneziano said. “Typically we’re physical, but this is a running team. We like to run but we’ve got to be more physical on the defensive end. At times we go through stretches where we’re not physical.”

Berlin is currently 7-9 and on the verge of making the state tournament, but in order to get there, must clean up its game and figure out a way to create points in the paint.

“We need to do a better job rebounding so we can run our transition offense,” Veneziano said. ”We have guys boxing people out but they’re not driving guys away from the basket. Sometimes you got to make the official make a call but if they’re bigger than you, you can’t just get in front of them. You gotta try to drive them away from the basket and then go get the ball.”

With three winning teams left on their schedule - Farmington, Simsbury and Middletown - the Redcoats will have an opportunity to address this issue and enter the postseason with confidence.

If Berlin doesn’t, however, it could be an early exit in the playoffs.

But with the Redcoats having a break with their next game not coming until Saturday against the Indians, their progress playing against bigger and more physical teams will be something to watch as the postseason nears.

“For our last six games we need to focus on being more physical on defense,” Veneziano said. “We’ve done a good job scoring the ball but our toughness isn’t always there.”

Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811, or

Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin on Tuesday, 30 January 2018 22:56. Updated: Tuesday, 30 January 2018 22:59.