NEW BRITAIN - The New Britain boys basketball team has made it no secret it has the ability to contend - not just in regular season games, but come tournament time.
Part of what has made the Hurricanes so successful this season has been their ability to play each game differently. Whether it’s how the team performs, or in fact who performs, each game seems like there’s someone new leading the pact.
In New Britain’s most recent win over Manchester during the first round of the CCC Tournament Thursday evening, it was sophomore guard Tahmeen Dupree who led the way, scoring 22 points.
“I always played with these [older] kids my whole life, I always played up,” Dupree said. “So when I play with them, it’s just natural. I always work hard and try to separate myself from the average.”
Twelve of Dupree’s 22 points came from four 3-point baskets.
Like many of the other Hurricanes, Dupree started playing basketball at a young age and has stuck with it ever since.
When Dupree talked about inspiration, one name came to mind - Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors.
“He’s humble and he never stops working,” Dupree said. “No matter how well he can shoot, he still works every day to be the best shooter ever.”
Dupree has been a big impact for New Britain all season long, reaching double figures nearly every game. The sophomore had led the Hurricanes on more than one occasion, reaching numerous game- and team-high points.
“He’s stepping up and he’s taking a lot of the ball handling,” New Britain head coach Kurt Reis said. “He’s growing up.”
Dupree still has time for growth and improvement over the next two years at New Britain High School.
“I’m underrated,” Dupree said. “My name will come up around here but not in the state of Connecticut. I’m just trying to make myself known.”
He has certainly helped the Hurricanes rebound this season. New Britain has won its last 11 games and finished out the regular season 15-5.
Now, Dupree and his teammates are ready for the second round of the CCC Tournament, where the Hurricanes will play Windsor tonight at Bulkeley High School at 5 p.m.
“We have to be poised,” Dupree said. “Last time we played them, we were up but they came back by pressuring us, and that can’t happen.”
Dupree said the success New Britain has had comes from within the team.
“It’s our bench,” Dupree said. “Everyone can play, everyone’s athletics and everyone can just run and run.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org