NEW BRITAIN - The New Britain boys basketball team saw a 16-point lead slip away against Manchester in the fourth quarter. It wasn’t, however, about to let the game slip away too.
As the home crowd grew loud, the Hurricanes were able to find their momentum, scoring the final 10 points to beat the Indians 60-52 in the first round of the CCC Tournament Thursday evening.
“We always crack when a team presses us out of nowhere,” New Britain sophomore Tahmeen Dupree said. “As soon as they switch it up on us, that’s our problem. Going forward we have to fix that.”
Now on an 11th-game win streak, the Hurricanes will move on to the second round of the CCC Tournament where they will face the winner of the Northwest Catholic/ Windsor game Saturday at Bulkeley High School.
Dupree had a team-high of 22 points, while teammates Maurice Turner and Jahfari Newman both added nine. But it was Manchester’s Logan Tomlinson who had the game-high of 26 points.
After being held without a basket for a five-minute stretch, Turner finally put New Britain back in the game with a basket with 2:47 left on the clock.
A technical foul was later called on Tomlinson, giving Dupree two shots from the foul line. Dupree was able to make both his shots, extending New Britain’s lead to five.
Shamah Charles, Turner, and Isaiah Jenkins all contributed to the Hurricanes’ run before time expired.
“It was the pressure and it affected us,” New Britain head coach Kurt Reis said of Manchester’s fourth quarter. “We bent but we didn’t break. These guys haven’t been in a game like this in a while so it was a great learning experience for a lot of them.”
Despite how the game finished, the Hurricanes controlled the game in the early going. In the first three minutes, New Britain jumped out with a 10-0 run.
The Indians were only able to score six more points before the Hurricanes would answer again.
With just 60 seconds left, Malik Shode hit a 3-pointer, followed by a Manchester foul bringing Thameen Dupree to the line. Dupree sank both baskets, with just 15 seconds left.
New Britain was able to get possession of the ball once more, as Malik Shode lobbed the ball in for an easy basket.
“It was a very intense game, we haven’t played [Manchester] in four years,” Dupree said. “We all had something to prove because everyone said that we weren’t one of the teams that could win.”
The Hurricanes started the second quarter slowly, as the Indians cut their 9-point lead to three at the six-minute mark.
But Dupree sank a shot from behind the arc, while Jenkins found himself in a one-and-one bonus situation to get New Britain back on track.
Both teams traded baskets back and forth, but with two minutes left in the half, the Hurricanes went on an 8-3 run and went into the break with an eight-point lead.
“Coach told us to pick it up,” Turner said. “So we did.”
New Britain carried over that momentum into the third quarter as the Hurricanes dominated both offensively and defensively.
Dupree was able to ignite a seven-point run with six minutes left in the quarter, hitting a 3-pointer followed by a basket for two. Turner added another basket.
Then, as the game rolled around to the fourth quarter is when the real matchup began.
“I was just thinking we have to win,” Dupree said. “I didn’t want to lose. I was not leaving here without a W.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860)801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org