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Andrulis and Buck lead the running Cowboys.

POSTED January 19, 2011
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

LITCHFIELD-The running never gets old for Mike Andrulis and his Litchfield boys basketball team.

Know why? They have seen the results.

“We know that we will be stronger late in the season and in games because of the work we have put in,” Andrulis said Tuesday night as his Cowboys await a crucial Berkshire League match-up with the Gilbert Yellowjackets on Thursday evening.

“Instead of taking a few minutes to recover after a fast stretch,” Andrulis said, “It takes us only a few seconds.”

The match-up between Gilbert (8-0) and Litchfield (8-1) was called off with schools being closed Tuesday, giving both teams a chance to catch their breath and get ready to use ton of it on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in the Yellowjackets gym.

Playing in a loud, hot and stifling gym, like they will in Winsted, is nothing new for the Cowboys, who play in the areas loudest gym in front of a fan base that is not shy about making noise.

Andrulis (16.6), Caleb Buck (13.3) and Quinton McKenna (13.4) have combined to give the Cowboys three players who score in double figures almost every night.

The trio has played together as a unit since their sophomore seasons; each has seen the high and lows in those three years.

“In my freshman year, we won the Berkshire League Championship,” Andrulis said, “The next year was rough, we were in a lot of games but went 6-14. Last year we had a better year but it ended badly when we lost to Nonnewaug in the BL finals. This year has been a lot of fun so far but we have a lot of work left to do.”

The Cowboys sported a 16-4 regular season record, two of the loses where to the Chief’s (a total of three if you count the Tournament) who have given Andrulis and company fits since he broke into the starting lineup as a sophomore.

“We haven’t beaten them since my freshman year,” Andrulis said, “We were up by ten in our first game this year in the third quarter but lost our composure a bit and lost the game.”

Nonnewaug went on to win that game by a 45-39 score and come to Litchfield on February 1 for the rematch.

First things first though, the Thursday match up versus the ’Jackets figures to be a great game.

It’s a classic offense (Gilbert) versus a dominant defense (Litchfield); something has to give.

“They have some great outside shooters over there,” Andrulis said, “The entire team is real athletic and they crash the boards on every shot.”

The battle of the boards should come down to Buck and Austin Brochu, who had 22 rebounds against Northwestern on Friday, January 14.

“Caleb has become a monster on the boards,” Andrulis said, “His low post game has improved and he has an excellent touch underneath.”

While Andrulis leads the team in scoring and in three pointers (16), McKenna has pitched in with eight long balls while being part of the pressure that can drive the opposition into a turnover frenzy at times.

Defense rules the day for Litchfield teams, always has, always will with Jason Harlow at the helm.

The Cowboys have yet to give up 50 points in a game; the Yellowjackets have yet to score under 52 so far.

Something has to give.

One thing fans can count on not giving in will be the legs of the well run Cowboys, who live to run.

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