BRISTOL - Referred to as the â€śbash brothersâ€ť by head coach Tim Barrette, the Bristol Central boys basketball team came into the season expecting strong production out of its two primary big men, Alex Bernier and Alex Lape.
â€śThat combination is pretty good,â€ť Lape said. â€ś[We are] two big dudes that like to rebound, play hard and play aggressive. Itâ€™s hard for other teams to keep up with us.â€ť
With its most recent win over Berlin, the Rams finished January unbeaten. But with Bernier out the past four games due to an injury suffered earlier in the month against Platt, Lape has stepped into a bigger role, flashing the ability to score the ball, something Bernier is more known for.
â€śI donâ€™t really think of basketball as my sport,â€ť Lape said. â€śBut to be able to step up and fill in for Bernier as best as I could, it feels pretty good.â€ť
While Lape has stepped into more of a scoring role with Bernier sidelined, his production on the court has been there all season, and he has adapted to different roles for Bristol Central.
Whether Lape is in the starting five or the first man off the bench, he brings the same intensity every night.
â€śAlex has been great all year,â€ť Barrette said. â€śIn the preseason, he was probably playing the best out of anybody. He battles for us. He plays as hard as he can every night and thatâ€™s all I can ask for. Heâ€™s been the sixth man for us [and] heâ€™s been in the starting lineup. No matter what we ask of him, he steps in for us.â€ť
The scoring production started in the game Bernier went down, as Lape finished with his season-high 12 points.
In the most recent game, the win against Berlin, Lape once again showed his ability to crash the boards and create points off of rebounds. All of his field goals made came inside the paint.
On the season Lape averages about seven points and six rebounds per game. The stats, though, donâ€™t reflect the impact that he has.
His toughness on the floor is evident every game and Lape doesnâ€™t back down to any opposing big.
â€śHeâ€™s a physical player,â€ť Barrette said. â€śHeâ€™s an enforcer inside for us and has been a big reason behind the success weâ€™ve had.â€ť
For Bristol Central, it has been a welcoming sight as the Rams have a lot of talent outside of their big men.
Since Bernier went down Bristol Central has continued its success with a 4-0 record, a testament to the depth.
Now, with Lapeâ€™s progress and Bernier expected to be back in the coming weeks, the Rams will once again have the ability to â€śbashâ€ť their opponents down low.
Without Bernier, Lape hasnâ€™t missed a beat. His play makes the anticipated return of Bernier that much sweeter for a team that has the pieces to go as far as it wants in the postseason.
â€śOnce [Bernier] is back weâ€™ll have another weapon,â€ť Barrette said. â€śWeâ€™re really excited about that.â€ť
Dan Orencole can be reached atÂ 860-973-1811 orÂ firstname.lastname@example.org