BRISTOL - Playing against a team with a prolific go-to scorer such as Bristol Central boys basketball’s Jaekwon Spencer requires the opposing team’s defense to play big.
Bristol Eastern did just that Friday night despite coming out on the losing end.
"We were playing really aggressive," the Lancers’ Tyler Mason said. "We were playing really up in them. I think we did a great job helping off the ball and helping on Jaekwon Spencer, their best offensive producer. We did a great job holding them to 40 points. I couldn't really ask for more."
Spencer was held to six points in the first half before getting going in the second half in the 41-30 win for Bristol Central.
"There's a lot of teams around the state that wish they had effort like that - even the teams that are talented, way more talented than we are " Bristol Eastern head coach Bunty Ray said afterward. "We’ve got some parts. I'm going to tell our kids that now their effort has to match up to their talent and when that happens, you're going to see us grow."
Still, most of the shots Spencer put in the basket didn’t come easy with Camryn Tate leading the defensive charge.
"We played great team defense on Jaekwon," Ray said. "When [Tate] needed help it was there. It was an individual effort and team defense but when they needed baskets, he got a few baskets there."
With the score 14-14 coming out of the half, Bristol Eastern’s strong showing on defense started to dwindle as the team played its starters most of the game.
"We played a great half of basketball," Ray said of the message coming out of the half. "Can we do it for 16 more minutes? I didn't play a lot of guys. I had a lot of guys to go to and I must develop those. I had some tired kids at the end but physically, we did what we could."
Without Carter Dziedzic, the Lancers couldn’t get much offense going outside of Mac Goulet’s 13 points. That defensive effort, however, provides Bristol Eastern with positives.
"I'm not going to look at any negative [Friday]," Ray said. "I'm going to look at every positive because every positive is something we can build on going forward."
Though, the strong defense was nothing new for this Lancers group.
"We do that every game," Ray said. "We play great defense. Defense is heart, energy and we do that every game. We game plan and the kids execute. We try to limit what the other team does and I couldn't be more proud of the defensive effort in this environment."
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org