BRIDGEWATER – For the Bridgewater-Raynham High boys basketball team, the winning pieces are in place and, together, they’re ready to make a statement.
The Trojans didn’t waste much time in doing so on Tuesday by cruising to a 60-41 home victory over Brockton behind a combined 33 points from backcourt mates Luke Barry (17 points) and John McClaren (16 points). Now 5-2 with a cohesive, veteran cast, the belief from within has a pounding pulse.
“I have one goal: to win the state championship, to go as far as we possibly can,” said McClaren, a senior.
Loaded with seven seniors and six juniors on its 15-man roster, all five of B-R’s wins have come by double-digits and both of their losses have come by single-digits. The midseason tournament push is already in the works.
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“We’ve got some seniors that definitely want to win now and as you saw, we’re capable of being pretty good when we execute and do what we do,” B-R coach Doug Alves said postgame. “But, of course, there’s some young guys that I think are going to be really good for the next three to four years.”
McClaren scored 9 of his 16 against Brockton in the first quarter to provide the Trojans a resounding 20-8 lead after the opening frame. Brockton, which played its last game on Dec. 18, suffered from a cold shooting night in its first game back in action after halting play. The Boxers sank just three 3-pointers on the night, in comparison to B-R’s seven – six of which came in the first half.
“I’m not going to take away from Bridgewater’s victory,” Brockton coach Emanuel Dearros said of the cold shooting night. “They played harder, they played more disciplined and they played more team ball. They shared the ball more. We played a lot of hero ball, we weren’t communicating and it showed, to be honest with you. At the end of the day, we talked about being accountable as a team.”
Brockton showed some life in the second quarter as it went on a 7-0 run to briefly close the 24-9 gap to a manageable 24-16 difference, but B-R freshman Timmy Bollin put out that fire in a hurry.
Bollin launched a pair of spot-up threes and finished an over-the-shoulder flip over the outstretched arms of Brockton’s converging help defense to put forth an 8-0 solo show in a matter of possessions. At that point, the B-R lead pushed itself to 32-16 with 1:49 to play until halftime. Bollin finished with 10 points in the win.
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“He went on his own personal run,” said Alves. “That’s big, especially from such a young guy.”
With mere seconds left until the halftime break, McClaren closed out the standout first half by inbounding the ball to senior forward Logan Johnson only to receive it right back at half-court for a high-arcing fling. He released the ball in time and the frantic heave rattled around and through, sending the Trojans into the locker room ahead, 41-19.
“In practice, I do that. I’ve been taking them, I’ve actually been hitting them,” said McClaren. “I said, ‘Logan, give me the ball.’ I shot it, it was a good moment. I’ll remember that, definitely.”
“John’s a tough cover – he’s big, he can bang inside and then he can handle the ball and go by bigger guys,” Alves said of his starting point guard.
As a whole, B-R’s pass-and-cut offense has predicated itself on constant movement, both with the ball by pass and players by timely cuts to the basket. Alves recalls multiple times in the 5-2 start that the Trojans had 10 or 11 players find their way into the scorebook.
Brockton, on the other side, did find itself some quality looks driving to the basket, but the first real game action in several weeks is bound to come with some bumps.
“We just wanted to put pressure on them,” Alves said. “Obviously knowing they’ve had games postponed, this only being their third game, I told the guys in the locker room that we should look like the sharper team, if not anything else. We definitely wanted to execute and keep them off-pace defensively.”
The Boxers (0-3) are still searching for their first win of the season.
“It’s a work in progress. We were off for, really, three-and-a-half weeks and it showed,” said DeBarros. “We’ve only played two games and the truth is, guys are still trying to figure out each other.”
“I’m an optimistic person and I’m telling the guys to stay positive because you learn from losses as well,” DeBarros added. “It’s a tough loss. Let it sting for today, but tomorrow, back at practice.”