Golden Knights begin their basketball season

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Thompson - posted Tue., Dec. 6, 2011
Bobby Ahearn, Greg Senat and Kachi Nzerem defend against Bridgton. Photos by D. Coffey.
Bobby Ahearn, Greg Senat and Kachi Nzerem defend against Bridgton. Photos by D. Coffey.

The Golden Knights lost to Bridgton Academy 78-88 in a Sunday game in the Hoop Mountain Basketball Tournament held Dec. 2-4 at the Marianapolis Preparatory School. The Knights played the Wolverines in their second game of the tournament.

“We battled pretty hard,” coach Dave Vitale said after the game. “They are very talented and their depth hurt us.”

The game was longer than usual for the Knights. The Wolverines play AAA basketball, which calls for 40-minute games. The Knights are an AA team used to playing 32-minute games. “The long game affected us a little bit,” Vitale said.

Most of the players on the Wolverines team are post-graduates used to playing high levels of basketball, according to Vitale. The Bridgton, Maine, team has three players already committed to playing for Buffalo and St. John's. The loss didn't come as a total surprise.

“I knew we'd be up against it,” Vitale said. Still, he is encouraged by what he saw his players do against a tough opponent. “I've got a good feeling. I have a really good feeling,” he said. “Even though we didn't win, they played really hard and that's what I wanted.”

The Knights battled back to within a few points in the beginning of the second half, but saw the Wolverines increase the lead steadily from that point on.

“Our guard play was really good today,” Vitale said, “and we shot the ball pretty well. We have good shooters. Nigel [Sydnor] is a terrific point guard and playmaker. He and the older guys need to be able to control the play and to control the team. Our young guys inside are big. They need to go in there and battle and rebound and play as hard as they can. If we get a good cohesion of both of those, good play on the perimeter and good play on the inside, we should be a pretty balanced team.”

“We've got to get better defensively,” Vitale said. “We gave up a lot of points today, but like I said, it was a long game. We've got to get better defensively, and we just have to continue to work on getting better every day. The guys are looking forward to it, and I’m looking forward to it.”

Ideally he would like to see his Knights make it to the NEPSAC tournament in late February. With three games under their belts, the Knights are 2-1.


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