Hyde School's Wolf Pack pulls away from Wheeler

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Woodstock - posted Mon., Feb. 14, 2011
Jalen Hill calls for a pass from Jahveney Beckford during a recent Hyde School game. Photos by Denise Coffey.
Jalen Hill calls for a pass from Jahveney Beckford during a recent Hyde School game. Photos by Denise Coffey.

Hyde School's Jalen Hill scored quickly at the start of the Feb. 9 match against Wheeler School, but the tempo for both teams quickly slowed down. It remained slow throughout the first half (preparatory schools play 16-minute halves rather than eight-minute quarters).

Hyde Coach Tom Bragg admitted after the game that one of his team’s weaknesses was not playing with intensity through every minute of every game. “When we don’t play with intensity like we did in the first half, we lay back and offer the opposing team opportunity,” Bragg said. “It builds their confidence. And we’re just out there, moving around, but we’re not moving with any intention.”

Hyde led by one at the half, 15-14. Both teams came out playing harder in the second half.  Wheeler went ahead briefly, but 8 minutes into the second half, Hyde started pulling away. Wheeler tried, but they couldn’t close the gap. The final score was 46-35.

“One of the strengths that we have is that when we play with intensity, as we did with this game, in the second half, we make things happen,” Bragg said. 

This is the first year in which the starters - senior forward Jalen Hill, sophomore guard Jahvaney Beckford, senior center Mike Connor, junior guard Chad Bryant and senior forward Derek Kubitz - have been playing together. “We are a young team,” Bragg said. “We have six seniors, but we don’t have six seniors that have played together for two or three years. That’s the difference. I have four juniors and three sophomores that are consistently playing, but this is the first year for the starters playing together. Every year is a different make-up. We have a few guys who have been here for three years, but we don’t have anyone who has played together for three years.”

“One of our weaknesses is our guard defense. That’s been a real problem for us this year. But we’re getting better and better with it," Bragg added.

Hyde plays about 25 games per season. The travel time isn’t bad, Bragg said, compared to the travel times other preparatory school teams have to make. It all depends on your location, Bragg said. When he was in Maine, the average travel time was an hour and a half.

Jalen Hill is averaging eight to 10 points a game and 10 to 12 rebounds a game. “He’s had a double-double in terms of rebounds for about 15 games,” Bragg said.

Jahvaney Beckford is averaging about 15 points a game. Another senior, Mike Cannon, is averaging about eight points a game.


Coach’s Corner-

Hyde School Boys' Basketball Head Coach Tom Bragg.

Number of seasons: 2

"We started out the season very strong, 4-0, and then we went on a seven-game losing streak," Bragg said. "We worked really hard and then went home for three weeks, for Christmas vacation. We had a hard time getting back into the groove and picking up where we left off."


Spotlight Players-

Jalen Hill: Senior Forward # 20 

Hill also plays football, and is  going to the University of Central Connecticut on a full scholarship for football. "He’s playing basketball because he’s an athlete," Bragg said. "He’s doing a wonderful job for us this year."


Jahvaney Beckford: Sophomore Guard #25

Sophomore guard Beckford has been playing very well this year. He averages about 15 points a game. "He’s been getting steadier and steadier, better and better as the season rolls on," Bragg said.


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