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‘Team is improving with every game,’ says boys basketball coach

With just one game left, the Bromfield boys varsity basketball team is ending its season on a high note. The team’s record stands at 2-7, but its performance and team bonding have improved with each game.

Graham Benway gets smothered by the Monty Tech defense and looks for an outlet for the ball. (Photos by Tim Clark)

“Every single game, we’ve gotten better and improved offensively and defensively,” coach Jimmy Kapsimalis told the Press. He said in the first games the team played— against Ayer Shirley, Monty Tech, and West Boylston—the boys had been leading in the first quarter, but couldn’t carry their momentum through to the end. However, in its two wins of the season, the team played well all the way through. “Against Ayer Shirley and Trivium, it was close in the fourth quarter, but they did execute properly and secured the win,” Kapsimalis said.

Junior team captain Nick Russo agreed. “The first win against Ayer Shirley was a big moment,” he said. “The biggest part of that game was that we got an early lead, which we hadn’t done before, [and] that momentum helped us win.”

Senior team captain Dallas Briggs-Adams was particularly pleased with defeating Trivium earlier this week. “We had an 11-point lead near the start of the fourth quarter, and it ended up coming to a 2-point win,” he said. “We have been doing really well and improving after every game.”

This past Wednesday, the team beat Ayer Shirley by a score of 51-42, and Monday’s win against Trivium resulted in a score of 48-46. The team also competed against West Boylston last Thursday but lost 65-41. Kapsimalis noted that even when the team lost a game, the scores were relatively close. “… coaches we’ve played against said our defense is great, and we’ve held multiple teams to the lowest score they’ve had all season,” he said.

“Our defense, I’m really impressed by,” Kapsimalis said, and “in the last four or five games, our offense has come together, which is nice to see.” He also highlighted the leadership the captains and other older athletes have exhibited. Russo, in particular, he noted, “has taken a huge step” both as a team captain and as a basketball player. Russo has an average of 20 points this season, ranking him second in Bromfield’s pod, and much improved from his 7-point average last year.

As competition began, the team struggled to bond since many of the players are new to varsity and the pandemic has left little opportunity for the boys to connect off the court. Russo said, however, that the team ended up cohering well. “We did a good job adapting as the season went on,” he said. Kapsimalis echoed this sentiment and said he noticed the team’s “chemistry improving in every game.”

Kapsimalis also highlighted the team’s senior players. Along with Briggs-Adams, Nathan Woolcock, Angelos Psathas, and John Diaconis also played this season. “I want to give credit to the seniors,” he said. “Some of them haven’t played organized basketball in the last couple years. … All four of them have helped us a lot and stepped up, both offensively and defensively.”

Looking ahead to the next season, Russo hopes to be able to get together more as a team, particularly as the team will be losing those seniors. “I want to bring the younger grades up, groom them into the team, and make them feel welcome,” Russo said.

The team is hoping to improve its performance as well. “Executing in the fourth quarter if we have a lead,” is the biggest thing the boys need to work on, Kapsimalis explained. Briggs-Adams noted that “communicating, making better passes, and smarter decision-making” are also important areas for improvement. Kapsimalis added that the close losses throughout the season could benefit the young team. “They’ll learn from that and take it to next year,” he said.

The final game of the season was scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 18 against Trivium.

Dallas Briggs-Adams (14) sets the pick for Nick Russo (15) to try to shed his defender as Russo drives to the hoop.

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