Alston, Hines to lead Manchester High School boys’ varsity basketball this season

By Corey AmEnde - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Fri., Jan. 3, 2014
The MHS boys' varsity basketball team went 14-9 overall last season.  Photos by Corey AmEnde.
The MHS boys' varsity basketball team went 14-9 overall last season. Photos by Corey AmEnde.

Despite having a roster with very limited varsity basketball experience, the Manchester High School boys’ hoop squad opened the season by winning two of its first three games.  The first loss was by three points at home to Stratford.

There are no returning starters from last year’s team that went 13-7 in the regular season and 14-9 overall.  The Indians lost in the second round of the LL state tournament last March to Hillhouse, the eventual state champions.

Senior co-captains Donta Alston and William Hines will look to lead the Indians back to the state tournament this year.  Alston is a 6’2’’ guard who can put the ball in the hoop.  He dropped 18 against South Windsor in the third game of the season.

“We’re counting on him to provide a lot of scoring for us this year,” said Healy.  “He’s done a good job rebounding from the guard position also."

Hines is a 5’10’’ guard who played junior varsity last season, and Healy refers to him as a “three-point threat for us.”

Although the team is a work in progress this season, Healy said he’s “seen some good togetherness early in the season.”  Healy said the team has size but isn’t particularly fast.

“We’re trying to improve our defense and find which defense we’re going to be most consistent in,” said Healy.  “We’re trying to improve our understanding and our thinking of the game.  I think that’s a key aspect for this team.”

Healy said he prefers to employ a man-to-man defense, but factors such as team speed and how far they can extend the floor will impact his decision on what approach to take.  “We have to pick and choose how much pressure we can put on other teams,” said Healy.  “I normally like to play a full-court-pressure-type game, and I think we have to pick our spots this year because our depth is not that good yet; we’re developing some younger kids.  We’ve been prone to foul trouble the first couple of games, so when you’re fouling it usually means you’re not moving your feet no matter what defense you're playing.”

Healy said he’s had to go to a zone defense to help protect Alston, the team’s best offensive player, when he has been in foul trouble.  “He can’t score if he’s on the bench with me,” added Healy.

The team will also need to improve on ball handling, as turnovers have been plentiful in the opening games. Healy said the goal for this season is to “develop our inexperienced kids, get them aclimated to varsity and just be a team that could surprise somebody along the way.”

As of press time, the Indians are 2-2.  They have upcoming home games against CCC North foes East Hartford on Jan. 7 and Weaver on Friday, Jan. 10.  Both games are at home and slated for 7 p.m. tips.


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