CM boys facing rugged schedule

Story By: JIM FURLONG
1/24/2013


After facing a rugged early-season schedule, coach Nick Thomas hopes his Center Moriches players will learn from their growing pains.

The Red Devils’ boys varsity basketball team showed a 2-5 record after a 65-39 home loss against undefeated Central Islip.

“I think we play one of the top non-league schedules on Long Island,” said Thomas. “We play big schools [A and AA]. I designed it that way; to get better for the experience we have. We want to get battle-tested.”

The Red Devils have also lost to tradtional power Amityville and St. John the Baptist of West Islip.

In the recent home game against Central Islip, the Red Devils sputtered and surged.

Thomas saw his team produce a 14-2 run in the second quarter to trail 26-25 at halftime.

In the third quarter, Central Islip, a taller team, dominated by a 21-4 margin and also claimed the fourth quarter by a 18-10 edge.

A key factor hampering CM was its leading scorer, 6-foot-3-inch senior Akyse Brown, sidelined by the flu.

Thomas was displeased during the second half as his team’s energy level dropped and its deficit got larger.

“I just thought we could have done a better job start to finish,” said coach. “That third quarter really hurt us . . .  that we stopped competing for each other and playing for one another. It’s tough when you are down without your best player.”

“I thought we took a couple of steps backwards.”

Nygel Braithwaite, a 6-foot-4-inch junior who showed some effective muscle inside during the second quarter, said he hopes his team learned a lesson after Thomas’ post-game speech.

“[Thomas] said we have to play all 32 minutes of basketball,” said Braithwaite. “To go out and work our hardest and never give up. He was mad because he said we gave up on ourselves. We have to fight like pit bulls.”

Terrell Jackson scored a team-high 16 points against Central Islip.

“He’s our most consistent player,” said Thomas.

Clarence Trent is a hard worker on defense, said the coach.

“He plays hard on every possession,” said Thomas. “He just needs to learn to play smarter.”

 The Red Devils won two of their first three games in Suffolk League VII. They beat Mercy and Mattituck, and lost to Southampton. n