NEWINGTON - For the Newington boys basketball team, itâ€™s a we-approach instead of a me-first one.
As Newington its 31-point lead against Bulkeley in its 60-29 win from Monday night, the offense displayed a greater focus on creating quality scoring opportunities than running the offense through specific people.
Newingtonâ€™s two leading scorers for the game, junior Trey Guest and sophomore Alex Cucuta, finished with 11 points each, but saw their scoring come steadily throughout the game. Even during the teamâ€™s 22-point third quarter, no one scored more than six points and six different players found the basket.Â
Ten different players scored for Newington in their third win of the season and that is how the offense is designed. Passing and moving without the ball to create shots will allow this team to score consistently as it would if it had a bigger scorer.
â€śI donâ€™t care who scores, I want an end result,â€ť head coach Ed Quick said. â€śI want us to take good shots, with balance, and not throw the ball all over the gym.â€ť
The Newington offense moved at a measured pace and is not afraid to take its time finding a quality shot. It broke through the Bulkeley defense by sharing the ball and getting shots near the basket that led to free throw opportunities. Newington made 11 foul shots in the game with seven different players getting to the line. They also made it to the foul line six times in just the third quarter.
Quick said he prefers this style of play for his team because it breeds unselfishness. The longer you have players looking for the best shot for the team more than just a shot for themselves, the more natural it becomes to think that way. He does not want any of his players feeling more valuable and anyone else.
â€śI think over time it creates an atmosphere that nobody is bigger than the team,â€ť Quick said. â€śWe donâ€™t have an NBA All-Star mindset where weâ€™re going to cater to you. Weâ€™re all equally important parts.â€ť
Running this kind of offensive system is certainly predicated on building strong relationships that allow players to better understand how everyone moves on court and that has reflected in Newingtonâ€™s play. With the win over Bulkeley making Newingtonâ€™s record 3-2 so far this season, the team is still figuring out what it does best and how to build around it. It has a pair of losses against talented teams in Berlin and Maloney and is in solid position approaching the second half of the shortened season.
â€śI think weâ€™ve done a good job of coming to practice, working hard and trying to get better,â€ť Quick said. â€śSometimes it translates in the game and sometimes it hasnâ€™t. Tomorrow is a new day to get better.â€ť
Newington will look to string together wins this week as it travels to Rocky Hill, a team that lost its first two games to start the season. After taking a step forward against Bulkeley, Newington should have another chance to build on its offensive success in this game.
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org