NEW BRITAIN - There wasnâ€™t much competition for Reis Basketball Academy (New Britain) in the opening round of the Nutmeg Games 9th grade boys basketball tournament.
Using an up-tempo offense and its athleticism to create high-percentage shots, Reis dominated CT Basketball Academics (Portland) from start to finish, cruising to a 57-29 win at New Britain High School Thursday night.
â€śWhen we get up and down the floor with this fast team, we get easy buckets,â€ť Reis head coach Ty Yopp said after the game. â€śWe donâ€™t try to take those long-range shots. We try to get inside and get layups. Thatâ€™s the style of play we want to have. We want less dribbles, more passes, layups and easy buckets.
Niko Schand was the leader for New Britainâ€™s offensive effort. He had 15 points in the game, 14 of which came in the paint.
â€śI was really trying to pass the ball a lot actually,â€ť Schand said. â€śBut I had my chances to get some baskets and rebound the ball. I just did what I had to do to help my team.â€ť
One reason New Britain was able to put up so many points was by grabbing rebounds at both ends of the floor. As a team, Reis tallied 44 total rebounds, 21 of them came on the offensive end. On the other side, Portland had 23 rebounds total rebounds as a team and five on the offensive end.
â€śWe had the size advantage,â€ť Yopp said. â€śWe used our height. The only thing we need to do is start boxing out more. Height is a big factor now, but at the next level, you have to know how to box out.â€ť
Dennis Forbes led all players with 11 rebounds in the game for New Britain. Schand had six rebounds, three of which came on the offensive end.
â€śMe and my friends really use our balance [skill-set wise] we know we have against those little kids,â€ť Schand said. â€śWe know theyâ€™re little and it makes no sense for them to catch a rebound over us.â€ť
Another factor was Reisâ€™ defense. Portland had 18 turnovers in the game, eight of which came off of steals.
â€śWe want that aggressive style of play on defense,â€ť Yopp said. â€śIt allows us to get into that transition game on offense and really run the floor.â€ť
But while Reis may have won handily in the opening round, Yopp still believes improvements can be made as the tournament continues into the weekend.
â€śLess turnovers and rebounding,â€ť Yopp said. â€śWe have to focus on really boxing out and doing the little things correctly - getting on the floor for loose balls.â€ť
Schand reiterated Yoppâ€™s point that rebounding will be a focal point for the team going forward, but also said ball movement was key as well.
â€śIf a guy is open, you have to give them a look so they can take the shot,â€ť Schand said.
Reis has two more games on its schedule, one tonight and one Saturday, before the medal rounds.
Tyler Roaix can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org