GLOUCESTER— The Gloucester boys basketball team could not have envisioned a better start to Saturday’s 7th Annual BankGloucester Holiday Tournament final against Manchester Essex.
The Fishermen came out ready for the Hornets 2-3 zone and scored almost at will over the game’s first eight minutes thanks to great ball movement and the hot shooting of guards Austin Davis and Jeff Oliveria.
Gloucester built a 22-9 lead after one quarter of play, and that’s when Manchester Essex head coach Bryan Shields made a few adjustments.
The Hornets ditched the 2-3 in favor of a man-to-man scheme that featured an aggressive full court press and trap and as a result the Fishermen came unglued. Well executed traps in the back court led to several turnovers from the Fishermen, which led to the Hornets holding a 60-35 advantage over the final three quarters of play en route to a 69-57 win and the BankGloucester Holiday Tournament title at the Benjamin A. Smith Fieldhouse.
“(Gloucester) really came out strong against the 2-3 zone,” Shields said. “We just decided that we were going to man up and press in the full court to force some turnovers and make things happen to get back in the game. We had a good read on what some of their guys like to do, who goes left and who goes right. I thought our double teams and rotations were really good.”
Gloucester head coach Bill Cahill was quick to credit the Hornets full court pressure.
“They started to run and jump our guards and the inexperience showed a bit and we threw the ball away a few times,” Cahill said. “Give them credit, they played a good game. I’m going to give us credit too because I liked how we played hard until the end and I thought we definitely did some good things, especially against the zone early. But our inexperience showed when they started to pressure us.”