Austin Brochu scores a double-double (21 points, 22 rebounds) in the Yellowjackets' 74-67 win over Northwestern to stay perfect at 8-0
WINSTED - There was none of that “GN” feeling in the Gilbert gymnasium on Friday night when Gilbert and Northwestern, who play under one name in football, took to the hardwood.
This was an all out battle that looked like a rout early on, but anyone who has seen these two rivals go at it, know better.
While the gym was about as hot as we wish it was outside, the home team came out even hotter, jumping out to a 12-0 lead before the visitors could catch their breath.
The Highlanders didn’t crack the scoreboard until senior Bobby Lippincott came up with a steal on the press and scored with 4:31 left in the first.
In their first real test of the year after running out to a perfect 7-0 start this season, head coach Mark Douglass was impressed by what he saw out of his team, which prevailed 74-67.
“I saw that we could handle the pressure we knew they would bring,” Douglass said. “We had been winning the games we should have. This was the first game of a stretch that will show us what kind of team we have.”
After running out to that early lead, the home team watched the visitors climb back into the game, as one would expect from a team that stars Lippincott (21 points), John Stevens (12 points) and Connor Guiheen (14 points).
Each time the Highlanders would get close though, the Jackets had an answer and it was usually dialed in from downtown.
While they would hit for just five three balls Friday night, Gilbert made sure each had a purpose, which is something they practice for.
“They all have the green light to take the three when we need it,” Douglass said. “Everybody thinks that’s all we shoot but we try to use them to counter runs by the other team.
Late in the second quarter when they Highlanders had gotten the deficit down to five at 23-18, a bucket by Ausitin Brochu and a long trey by Elide Romero stretched the lead back out to 11 at 33-22.
Let’s talk about Brochu. What a monster game the tough center had. His double-double was in the stratosphere with 21 points and 22 rebounds.
If there is a tougher player on the boards in the Berkshire League, it won’t be by much, this kid bangs in there tough.
The score could have easily been closer after the fast start if the visitors could have made their free throws; at one point in the first half, they made just 5 of 17 from the charity stripe.
Not taking advantage of the freebies would hurt Northwestern as the Yellowjackets went on a 18-7 run late in the second quarter to go to the break up 41-25.
Brochu got a lot of help from his friends on Friday night, especially from Guillermo Deolmo (15 points) and Robert Skinner (15 points).
Skinner, just a sophomore, is turning into a very good floor leader with lightning fast reflexes and the ability to see the entire court.
Deolmo can hurt a team from anywhere on the court and did on Friday night in both the half court offense and the break.
Up 16 at the half meant an easy second half right?
Not in this rivalry. True to form, the Highlanders came out on fire in the third quarter and outscored the Yellowjackets by a 27-18 score to get right back into this one.
Stevens hit two of his three trey’s in the frame while Lippincott added eight points to cut the lead to just seven at 59-52 entering the final frame.
Skinner though, started showing why he is going to be a player in the BL for some time to come by coming up with three keys baskets to help keep the Highlanders at an arms length.
The lead would get al the way down to just four with 1:38 to go Deolmo scored on a terrific pass from Dan Williams to make it a six point game with 1:13 to go.
Battle number one goes to Gilbert; round two will take place a little bit up the road at Regional #7 later this season.
Count on another great game. These two would have it no other way.