Unselfish play and solid defense were keys for the Oliver Ames boys' basketball team Thursday night when they defeated the visiting Foxborough Warriors to stop a four game skid and improve to 6-4.
The 64-49 win was OA's first since the then-undefeated Tigers won the Valentine Muscato Tournament on Dec. 30.
"It’s been a while," OA head coach Don Byron said. "We’ve had a couple of tough games here in the last few weeks and it’s good to just get the feeling back of winning a basketball game. I thought we did a lot of things to get us to that point."
The Tigers never trailed throughout the game, playing solid defense while guards Andrew Reardon (10 points) and Nick Bruha (16 points) dispersed the ball to seven different scorers, including Center Jeff Babbit, who finished the game with 12 points.
Foxborough coach CJ Neely keyed in on Reardon and Bruha. The strategy was successful in the first half. Bruha only had two points at the break while Reardon had four.
"We know who [Bruha] is and Reardon has gotten a lot better so it’s obviously like pick your poison with those two guys," he said. "Our point guard, Brian Ellard made his first start tonight. He’s known for getting on the ball and getting on people. That was kind of what he did on Bruha – get up on him and make him go to the other guys."
Unfortunately for the Warriors, going to other players worked in the Tigers' favor. In addition to Reardon, Bruha and Babbitt, Sophomore Nick Cidado chipped in with nine points, senior John Moroney chipped in with six and Junior St. Claire Ryan chipped in with seven.
Byron said ball movement was a key to the Tigers' success.
"[Bruha] did a great job of controlling the game from the point guard spot," he said. "He gets a lot of notice from the scoring he does and that’s fine. He’s a good kid. He knows how to play. When he gets the offense going, he moves the ball very well."
Despite the loss, the Warriors had positive sparks throughout the game. Led by Junior Captain Alex Pacitti (16 points) and Senior forward Jake Soccorso (9 points), Foxborough outscored OA 15-12 in the third quarter to cut the Tigers' lead to only eight points heading into the final period of play.
While OA was able to run away with the game in the fourth quarter, Neely was proud of his team's effort.
"I thought we played pretty hard," he said. "They battled back. I think a couple of baskets down the stretch here or there it could have gone our way. We had a chance to cut that down even more and they didn’t drop, and they hit some on their end. But, I’m proud of our guys."
The 3-8 Warriors will need to bring their best game Tuesday when they travel to Mansfield to take on the 7-3 Hornets.
"They’re at the top of the league and we know what we’re in for but we’ll keep playing hard and hopefully get some more 'W’s and make the playoffs," Neely said.
For the 6-4 Tigers, who travel to North Attleboro Tuesday, Byron is hoping they are back on a winning track.
"Every night’s tough," he said. "Nothing's easy. You can’t guarantee anything. Everyone comes in here and has their way to beat you and that’s what we try to convince the kids about."