MANCHESTER— The Manchester Essex boys basketball team has found its identity.
After limping through the first three games of the season with an 0-3 record something clicked for the Hornets. Head coach Bryan Shields’ squad began to figure out just who it was as a basketball team and players started to get used to their new roles.
Fast forward four games and the Hornets are riding high with a 4-3 record thanks to a 76-67 win over Georgetown Monday night at Manchester Essex High School.
“We’ve found some things that we can own both defensively and offensively,” Shields said. “Things that we couldn’t do early on in the season we’ve gotten better at, we’ve found our identity.”
The Hornets identity is simple, relentless pressure on the defensive end and picture perfect ball movement on offense.
That identity and the team’s improvements were on full display against Georgetown Monday. Defensively the Hornets mixed in two different full court press schemes to throw the Royals off guard. On the offensive end the Hornets showed off three offensive weapons in senior captains Max Nesbit, Liam Aldrich and Taylor Ketchum, who had 27, 20 and 17 points respectively.
It was Nesbit that got the team going early with 11 first quarter points. In the second the Royals gave Nesbit a little extra attention and it was Aldrich that stepped up his offensive game with 11 points of his own in the second frame. In the third it was Ketchum’s turn as the senior captain had eight of his 17 points in the third quarter.
“(Georgetown) tried to key in on our players on the offensive end but we have so many good ones that one will step up if another is covered,” Aldrich said. “On the defensive end our full court press was a key component. We go to a 2-2-1 to slow the ball and then we switch to a man-to-man trap to create some turnovers and extend our lead.”