NEW BRITAIN - For the Newington girls basketball team, Monday nightâ€™s 62-42 win over New Britain had been a game the Indians controlled from the opening tip off.
In fact, it was the type of game Newington wanted to play.
The Indians showed tremendous amounts of teamwork and skill on both the offensive and defensive end. But for Newington, it wasnâ€™t solely about the points it was putting up but more of its defensive efforts.
The Indians managed to hold the Hurricanes scoreless for the first eight minutes of the game. By halftime, New Britain was only able to score nine points on Newington, which held a 35-9 lead.
â€śI like to think of us as a defensive team first,â€ť Newington head coach Richard Bangs. â€śWe had a lot of energy, a lot of good communication. It looked like we really wanted it defensively in the first quarter and you know youâ€™re not going to shut a team out, but to hold a team like that to nine points in the half is a heck of a defensive effort.â€ť
The game plan for the Indians was to focus defensively to start the game and throughout the first half especially, Newington was able to hit its rotations and with players getting hands in the passing lanes.
â€śWe really executed on defense first,â€ť Bangs said. â€śI thought [we grabbed defensive rebounds] great and that was really the key to get the game started in our favor and we continued to steam roll from there in the first half.â€ť
Bangs said he could not have been prouder of the defensive effort the Indians showed on Tuesday evening.
â€śUsually we donâ€™t talk on defense,â€ť sophomore guard Ashanti Frazier said. â€śBut [Monday] I don't know, something happened. Our moral increased by a lot we started talking. We were able to pick up loose balls, anything they missed we would get it, and we were able to move down court really fast.â€ť
The Indians wanted to shut down the Hurricanes big players as well as such as Gabby Roy.
â€śUsually [Roy] is a really good block scorer and she usually has a really good 3[-point shot] so we tried to shut her down,â€ť Frazier said. â€śAnd we did, until the fourth quarter [when] she had a couple important 3s for them.â€ť
Frazier was a big help in the Indians victory, not only on defense but on offense as well. Frazier was the leading scorer of the evening, putting up 23 points and was 4-for-6 at the free throw line.
â€śâ€™Shanti is special,â€ť Bangs said. â€śShe's young and weâ€™re continuing to watch her grow. Sheâ€™s in for a great career here and itâ€™s just exciting to be able to coach her as long as Iâ€™ve had so far.â€ť
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860)801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org