CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -– Notes and observations from last night’s scrimmage between talented ISL squad BB&N and Boston City League power New Mission, considered one of the favorites to make a long run in the MIAA Division 2 basketball tournament:
Pressure D the key: New Mission set the tempo from the tip-off, getting in the face of BB&N’s guards with a 2-2-1 full court press, and then falling back into man-to-man. With their guards getting jumped every single time they crossed halfcourt, BB&N had a hard time getting anything going offensively early on, and New Mission had many 2-on-1 lay-ups in transition as a result.
Anderson Playing Inspired: Forward Nate Anderson was an enigma last year for New Mission, to say the least. However, the 6-foot-7 senior has come back this year and completely transformed his body, effort, and inside game. Defensively, his effort was top-notch while he showed a combination of versatility and aggressiveness in his offensive game. On many occasions Anderson ignited the fast break, distributing the ball on the offensive end of the floor or finishing it himself inside. He’s playing faster, stronger, and with much more energy; if he keeps that effort going for a whole season, coach Cory McCarthy’s team is a state title contender.
Isshiah Coleman will also be a force on the post this year for the Titans. The 6-foot-5 senior has long arms and great timing, and as he proved on Thursday night, he will be one of the most intimidating shot-blockers in the MIAA.
Titans Deep At Guard: There will be no shortage of playmakers are guard this year for the Titans. With sophomore point guard Greg Bridges serving a suspension due to an unexcused absence from practice, junior Shaquan Murray and sophomore transfer Juwan Gooding stepped up and did a lot of New Mission’s scoring, standing out especially in the first period where New Mission beat BB&N 26-5.
Gooding, a Bay State League all-star last year at Milton High, has the talent to become one of the MIAA’s most prolific scorers. His jumper from the outside is lights out, he uses a quick first step to get to the rim at will, and yet he still manages to give more effort on the defensive side of the ball than on offense, as seen by the several turnovers he forced in the game.
New Mission guard Percio Gomez was a pleasant surprise. Gomez is a senior whom McCarthy says has truly earned the minutes that he will get this year. He’s a strong, quick guard with a great-looking outside shot who can be expected to be an underrated rotation guy for the Titans.
Underrated Prospects : BB&N has a couple of talented sophomore guards to keep an eye on the next couple years.
Koby Antwi’s athleticism was very impressive, several times finishing tough shots around the rim. On one occasion, he crossed up Gooding and finished an acrobatic lay-up through two New Mission defenders, drawing “ooh’s” and “ah’s” from the crowd.
The other guard, Nick Jacobs, was playing his first game since an ACL injury, and did a nice job of managing the BB&N offense. As he continues to get back to full strength, he will be a tough player for ISL opponents to stop.
Nick Tarantino, a 6-foot-6 junior, had a hard time with Anderson and Coleman early on, but started to play a lot more aggressive in the final period. He didn’t seem afraid to throw his body around, he was all over the glass, and he showed that he can step out and hit the three.