Fermi boys – looking for success from hard work
By Tom Phelan - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Fri., Jan. 28, 2011
ENFIELD - After his team’s nine-point loss to an aggressive South Windsor squad on the Falcons’ home court Jan. 25, coach Vernon Mitchell reflected on the performance. “I told them before the game, this was going to be about what we did defensively, not offensively,” he said. In the early going, the Falcons were able to battle back and close the gap. “And I was really pleased, because we got production inside,” Mitchell said. “That kept us close.”
Fermi’s poor W-L record is not for a lack of effort. They press, and close down on the player with the ball, but eventually there’s a breakdown. “We don’t defend well, because we don’t understand angles. It’s not because of lack of quickness,” Mitchell said. “We did a good job on their little guard, except that we didn’t do a good job cutting off the other people, once he had to get rid of the ball. Then we allowed him to get it back.” South Windsor’s ball movement against the Fermi pressure would frequently find someone open on the weak side.
Two players were unable to suit up for the game against the Bobcats. Sophomore guard Dan Brunetti was sick and did not play. Senior Forward Jeff Kraucunas is out two to three weeks with an ankle sprain. Mitchell complimented Brunetti as one of the team’s best decision-makers, “because he doesn’t need to score.” Conversely, other players are apt to take what he called “bail-out shots” because they are not sure what to do with the ball at times. “We’re shooting just to get rid of it.”
Mitchell coaches hard during the game, and he’s very liberal with his substitutions. At times in the late minutes of the first half during Fermi’s game against South Windsor, players were shuffled in and out at every dead ball. He seems to emphasize the team nature of high school basketball – giving as much experience as he can to the players all the way down to the end of the bench.
Pat Bordeau and Conor Ellis are the Falcons’ co-captains. Mitchell said Bordeau has been the most consistent player, as well as the best decision-maker. Bordeau is not only the team’s leading scorer, he’s credited for his role as a team leader on the floor.
According to Mitchell, “Conor Ellis is our hardest-working player, in practice as well as games.” He said his co-captains are vocal when necessary in games, practice and team meetings. “In the 23 years that I have coached, Pat and Conor are the best team leaders I’ve ever had the privilege of coaching,” he said.
Fermi Basketball Coach VernonMitchell
Third season with the team.
Thoughts on the season: The Fermi boys’ basketball program has not qualified for the state tournament in so long, no one can say when the last appearance was. “We’re playing for pride,” said Mitchell.
Seniors: Pat Bordeau, Joe Bowker, Conor Ellis, Jeff Kraucunas, Mitchell Rhodes and Dean Thomas.
Ahead on the Schedule: Feb. 3 – Fermi at HartfordPublic, Feb. 5 – Fermi at HartfordPublic.