Soaring start leads BBA to victory

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MANCHESTER — The strength of the Burr and Burton basketball team is simple — get out fast, get points off turnovers and tire out opponents.

In the first quarter on Tuesday night, the Bulldogs did that to perfection, taking a 14-point lead en route to a 56-41 win over Division II Mill River at E.H. Henry Gym.

"We talked about letting our defense create easy offense," said BBA coach Eric Green. "We had an advantage on perimeter play, we played straight man for 32 minutes."

The flurry started on the hot shooting from senior Bryce Little. Little, who had a big day against Woodstock in the Bulldogs' last game, continued his strong stretch against the Minutemen.

He hit back-to-back threes midway through the first as BBA took a 17-3 lead only 3:46 into the contest, leading Mill River coach Jack Rogers into an angry timeout.

Little hit yet another three moments later to extend the advantage to 22-5. Little had 13 points in the first quarter, en route to a game-high 22

"Bryce had a great game, he's playing really well and making the right decisions with the ball," Green said. "We wanted him in the high post, he's almost automatic from mid-range. If we can get the ball to him there and then draw the defense out, we'd get some easy drops to our bigs."

Jake Nicholson added 11, all in the first half, as Burr and Burton got out to its big lead. Jay McCoy had a solid day on his birthday, scoring 11 points and grabbing nine rebounds. McCoy was perfect from the line, 7-of-7, as the team finished 14-of-20 from the charity stripe.

Chad Young led Mill River with 16 points and five rebounds, while Will Grabowski added 11 off the bench.

"Young is a good player," Green said. "When a kid that tall is shooting the ball that well, all you can do is put a hand up and keep him off the glass."

In the second quarter, the Burr and Burton defense did its job, holding the Minutemen to four points in the frame to extend their lead to 38-16 at halftime.

One of the Minutemen's top scorers, DJ Nichols, was blanked by suffocating defense from McCoy and others.

"We wanted to challenge their ball-handlers," Green said. "If we can pressure the guards into uncomfortable situations, they'd have to move out in a more uncomfortable spot. We did a good job of that in the first half."

Young scored the first basket of the quarter and then BBA scored the next seven to widen the gap.

In the third, Young scored eight of his team-high 16, but Jake Baker scored all seven of his points in the quarter to keep the lead near 20. In the fourth, Mill River cut the deficit to 50-37 with 3:41 left, but BBA slowed down and kept the ball out of Mill River's hands.

BBA improves to 6-6 on the year, while Mill River falls to 9-4 in a competitive Division II race.

"A full team effort and I'm proud of this group," Green said. "Everyone contributed in some way, shape or form. It gives us some confidence [going forward]."


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