BRISTOL - It’s been a long season for the Plainville boys basketball team.
The talent, though, is there, even if the Blue Devils only have one win on the season.
“I think we have a lot of guys that don’t play this game all year long,” Plainville head coach Jim DiNello said. “They don’t put in the necessary time that’s required in the offseason to make the shots that you need to make in this game. We hustle and work hard, but you can turn yourself into a scorer, ball handlers and a shooter in the summertime and we need to get a few more like that. But it’s coming. We’ve got a few that are starting to get it.”
The junior class has a pair of strong building blocks with Ben Dougherty and Brady Callahan leading the way.
Callahan, the point guard and captain, is tasked with making sure the team stays committed throughout the season and is the type of player that makes it possible for a winning year next season.
Dougherty is a knock down shooter when he’s on top of his game. Both he and Callahan have the ability to take over a game.
“I’m glad they’re both coming back,” DiNello said. “They’ve grown a lot since the year started. Things are going to depend on how they come back at the end of summertime for us next year, but they’re good leaders and they’re a good two to build around I think for sure. Them, coupled with the young guys, I think it could be alright for us next year.”
For the younger players, Alec Couture and TyShawn Johnson have stepped into roles as freshmen.
Couture has a solid jump shot and is starting to mix up his game as he gets more experience.
“He’s been coming along all season,” Callahan said of Couture. “He’s done everything coach has asked him to do and he’s worked his way up to a varsity spot.”
Johnson is a guard that is elusive in the open court.
“He got his second start [of the season against Bristol Eastern],” DiNello said. “He’s learning but he’s got a good handle, makes good decisions for the most part and he’s fearless. We need fearless guys and Tyshawn is fearless so that’s awesome.”
The Blue Devils certainly have a talent level that isn’t of a one-win team. For DiNello, it’s getting his players to buy in to that and work on their game that is the priority.
“They got to [put in the] work,” DiNello said. “Weight room stuff, strength and conditioning stuff are all things they must work at. But they have great hearts and are great kids, I love coaching them.”
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org