New Britain boys run away with win over Wethersfield

Published on Tuesday, 8 February 2022 20:45
Written by MATT HORNICK

@MNHornick

NEW BRITAIN ― New Britain boys basketball ran away with a home win over Wethersfield on Tuesday night. 

The Hurricanes used a fast-paced attack to outscore the Eagles 65-44 for their seventh win of the season. New Britain is now one game from securing a berth into the Division I state tournament, winning five of its last six games after starting the season 2-8. 

Junior Dontay Bishop (16) and freshman Demari Johnson (14) combined for 30 points as the Hurricanes’ leading scorers. New Britain had five players with at least eight points as the team found open looks from all spots on the floor. 

“Our kids came out and played pretty good defensively to hold them to 44 points,” New Britain coach Kurt Reis said. “Just getting stops allowed us to run and get in transition.”

The Hurricanes added to their lead by starting the second quarter on a 10-1 run, courtesy of four points from Dontay Bishop and three-pointers from Xavier Goode and Gerard Brown. Wethersfield struggled finding open shots for most of the period and nearly fell behind by 20 points, but responded with a string of baskets late to keep the deficit reachable at halftime. 

“Bishop was a big reason as to why [the team succeeded],” Reis said. “He had 16 [points] and we typically get that from him. That loosened up the defense because they were paying so much attention to him. He had a great game.”

Freshman Demari Johnson led all scorers after two quarters with 11 points, but was one of six New Britain players to score in the first half. Johnson found the bucket from all over the court, getting most of his points near the basket but also hitting a three in the first quarter.

The Hurricanes continued to play well to start quarters, and forced Wethersfield to call a timeout early into the second half after they added six points to their lead on an 8-2 run. New Britain stretched its lead to 20 points soon after the timeout and never looked back. Sophomore Jackson Forte netted a putback layup to take a 22-point lead, which the Eagles failed to encroach upon.

“Our on-ball defense didn’t allow any penetration or kick-outs,” Reis said. “[Robert Ruiz Rivera], who I was told was averaging 16 or 17 points, we only held him to five and then he didn’t score in the second half. Overall, our guards did a very good job of not allowing him to penetrate and get to the hoop.” 

The game started at a high speed with both sides looking to push the ball. The Eagles took the first lead of the game, but the Hurricanes answered quickly and took the lead they never relinquished by the midway point of the opening period. 

While both teams wanted to run, the strategy worked better for New Britain as it built a lead because of the team’s speed advantage over Wethersfield. The Eagles tried to take control of the tempo with a full-court press, but it was not effective against the Hurricanes’ speedy guards.

The Hurricanes’ will return to the court at 6:45 on Friday for a road game against Hartford Public (3-8).

Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or mhornick@bristolpress.com.

NEW BRITAIN 65, WETHERSFIELD 44

At New Britain

New Britain   18  16  20  11 - 65

Wethersfield  12  10  13   9 - 44

NEW BRITAIN: Demari Johnson 6-0-14, Gerard Bown 3-1-8, Xavier Goode 3-0-8, Dontay Bishop 7-2-16, Caleb Cardona 2-2-6, Jackson Forte 4-0-8, Omarion Gadson 1-0-3, Dennis Forbes 1-0-2. Totals 0-0-65.

WETHERSFIELD: AJ Karanian 3-1-8, Jack Freitas 5-0-10, Mikel Lleshi 2-0-4, Andrew Knapp 2-1-5, Robert Ruiz Rivera 2-0-5, TJ Smith 2-1-5, Ethan Lemos 1-0-2, Tom Daly 1-0-3, Tate Barnett. Totals 0-0-44.

Three-point goals: Johnson (NB) 2, Goode (NB) 2, Karanian (W), Brown (NB), Rivera (W), Gadson (NB), Daly (W). 

Records: New Britain 7-9, Wethersfield 3-12.



Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Tuesday, 8 February 2022 20:45. Updated: Tuesday, 8 February 2022 20:47.