Young Bristol Central boys hoop team starting to put it together

That new photo you see on the main page of this blog is of Bristol Central Aaron Collins. Collins’ four-point play with 3:14 to go in the fourth quarter all but iced BC’s 57-45 win over New Britain.

When looking at the Bristol Central and New Britain boys basketball teams, you will see very similar traits.
“They scrap, I see a lot of ourselves in them,” Rams head coach Tim Barrette said after his team beating the visiting Golden Hurricanes 57-45 on Monday night.
For one, both teams are young. For Central, only sophomore Jamil Hornesby had varsity experience entering this season.
“We had zero varsity experience coming into this season,” Barrette said. “None.”
There’s a lot of learning on the fly for players who saw mostly junior varsity minutes last year. There have been bumps in the road, including an 89-87 overtime loss to Maloney at home. There was also a 66-62 loss at E.O. Smith in the season opener.
Central finally struck the right notes on Dec. 30 when it defeated New Milford 73-67 on the road. On Monday night, Barrette saw something new in his team huddles…calmness.
“I saw a different calm in the huddle during timeouts that I hadn’t seen,” Barrette said.
Yes, there are plenty of youthful mistakes. There’s rushed shots, turnovers, bad fouls and missed assignments when boxing out on rebounds. That happens with a young team, and Central certainly is young (five seniors with virtually no varsity experience).
There were good signs on Monday night. First, there was the defense.
“If we buy into that kind of defensive effort, we can compete with anyone,” Barrette said.
In particular, senior A.J. Pahl, sophomore Isaiah Miller and senior Tyshaun Rodriguez stuck out for their second half efforts against New Britain’s Donovan Lighty. Lighty is the engine that makes the Golden Hurricanes go on offense, but he had a tougher go of it in the second half. Lighty had four of his 16 points after halftime.
“In the second half, we really locked down,” Barrette said.
Miller came up big in several different ways.
“Isaiah does the little things,” Barrette said. “He rebounds, he’s tough with the ball.”
And Miller is a good free throw shooter, a big reason why the sophomore stays on the floor late in games.

Sophomore Jaekwon Spencer led Bristol Central
with 20 points in the win over New Britain Monday night.

On offense, sophomore Jaekwon Spencer led the way with 20 points. Spencer hit a couple long jumpers in the first quarter to help turn the momentum. He tallied six points in the third quarter as Central took a 37-30 lead. There were also good offensive contributions from Aaron Collins (9 points) and Pahl (8 points).
Collins’ turned in the shot of the night when he hit a 3-pointer from the right wing and was fouled with 3:14 to go in the game. Collins sank the foul shot for the four-point play, and a two possession game turned into a four possession game with not much time left. With the way the Rams were playing defense, it was lights out for the Golden Hurricanes.
Barrette likes what he saw from his young kids on Monday against a good New Britain team. If Central (2-3) can cut down on the turnovers and do a better job of boxing out on rebounds, they can indeed be a tough team to beat.