Berlin boys basketball fails to shut down key player in loss to Farmington

Published on Saturday, 3 February 2018 22:03


BERLIN - The game plan coming in for the Berlin boys basketball team was simple - prevent a big game from Farmington’s Jake Sytulek and come away with a win.

Sytulek, though, was too much for the Redcoats and his 29-point effort led the Indians in their 59-48 win over Berlin Saturday afternoon.

“I did everything. I even drew a picture of him on the whiteboard today,” Berlin head coach Mike Veneziano said. “We let him catch the ball and shoot the ball, and he singlehandedly got them back in the game. He’s their guy. We have a bad habit of letting “the guy” beat us. It shouldn’t be that hard to stop one guy when you put that much focus on him.”

The Redcoats got off to a 9-2 start in the game but Sytulek and Farmington came back as he led the Indians on a 7-0 scoring run.

“We got a lead and we got comfortable,” Veneziano said. “We let him get open shots and he got them back in the game and then they took the lead. It’s tough to play catch up against teams.”

Early in the third quarter the game was tied 24-24, before Farmington closed out the quarter on an 18-9 run led by Sytulek and Grayson Herr.

“We were trying to shut [Sytulek] down,” Fanelli said. “But in the end he had more success than we did.”

That run was too much to overcome with just eight minutes left in the game as the third ended.

Farmington continued having its way against Berlin’s defense.

Rebounding and hustle continued to be an issue for the Redcoats.

“We just couldn’t get that extra rebound tonight,” Fanelli said. “We couldn’t get one stop and execute on the defensive end.”

Berlin got a strong performance out of junior Gianni Fanelli, who had 19 points and knocked down three 3-pointers.

The Redcoats let the Indians get 25 foul shots compared to the meager 11 opportunities they had at the line.

Farmington hit 17 while Berlin hit seven of its foul shots.

The Redcoats also got strong performances out of Mike McCarthy (9 points) and TJ Beardsley (8).

Jacob Smith added 10 points for the Indians in the game and Herr finished with 13.

With the loss Berlin fell to 7-8 on the season. Farmington moved to 9-6.

The Redcoats will host Simsbury Tuesday night at 6:45 p.m. and are still looking for the next win in order to reach the tournament.

“With our recent slide in record people aren’t trying as hard as they can,” Fanelli said. “But we can come together and change that.”

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

Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin on Saturday, 3 February 2018 22:03. Updated: Saturday, 3 February 2018 22:05.