FARMINGTON - Jada Hubbard went through her usual warm-up drills before the New Britain girls basketball team's contest against Farmington Thursday night, and knew it was going to be a rough game. With each passing missed shot during warm-ups by Hubbard and her teammates, more doubt crept in her mind.
“Yeah, I felt it [in warm-ups].” Hubbard said of the team’s shooting struggles that carried over to a 39-28 loss. “I just have no idea why.”
Whatever the cause, the result was painfully familiar, as New Britain labored through a poor shooting night in its loss to Farmington, dropping the Hurricanes to 2-7 on the young season. Each New Britain loss has been by at least 10 points. The reason? The shots just aren’t falling.
“It's been a struggle,” Hurricanes head coach Marc Wesoly said of his team’s prolonged offensive funk. “We can’t buy a bucket. That's been our struggle all season.”
Thursday night’s loss was no exception. The New Britain defense hung tough and kept the game close at halftime, but the offense continued to lag behind, as the Hurricanes shooters missed on over a dozen layup opportunities in the first half, which Wesoly considered to be the difference in the game.
“On the defensive end, we're fine,” said Wesoly, whose team made just 10 field goals on the night. “But we can't make a layup right now.”
The offensive problems stretch back to the beginning of the season, and have yet to correct themselves. New Britain has failed to reach the 40-point mark in six out of their nine games so far this season. In the team’s last six games, five of them being losses, the offense is averaging just 29 points.
These glaring problems on offense are not lost on Wesoly or the players. Shooting and generating offense remain a focal point in practice and will continue to be until there are signs of improvement.
“We do post moves every single day [in practice],” Wesoly said. “We do various drills with layups. We try to make it more of a game atmosphere in practice to help with that. We work on things in practice, but it's not translating to games. We're getting there, but it's just a slower process than we thought.”
As the process continues to move at a slower pace than desired, Wesoly can see his team pressing on offense. He believes if the Hurricanes can keep things simple, the elusive offense will finally show itself.
“It's fundamental stuff we have to work on more,” Wesoly explained. “Setting the shoulders to the basket, being strong with the ball, that kind of stuff. We can't get hit and expect a call every single time. We teach them to go up strong so we can get that and one, but right now it's not falling for us.”
For now, all New Britain can do is address its problems in practice, and keep shooting until the shots start falling. It’s a frustrating stretch not only because of the result, but because there’s no elixir to cure it. When it comes to a shooting funk, the only way out is through, and the Hurricanes are slowly trying to make thier way to the other side.
“Our offense is just off,” Hubbard said. “I just hope we continue to get better as the season goes on.”
Ryan Chichester can be reached at (860) 801-5094 or firstname.lastname@example.org