Bulldogs roll past Slaters

MANCHESTER -- Thanks to a couple of snowouts, the Burr and Burton Academy boys basketball team had a layoff of more than two weeks since its last game before Saturday's contest against Fair Haven.

So you could say that the Bulldogs were a caged animal just ready to get out and play.

Burr and Burton used a full-court press nearly to perfection, forcing 25 steals and many other turnovers in a 69-32 rout of the Slaters at E.H. Henry Gym.

"We talk about deflections being as good as a steal," said Burr and Burton Academy coach Dave Shehadi. "We don't want to foul, we just want to cause a bad pass. Our guys anticipate well."

The layoff, 18 days since a 50-point win over Mount St. Joseph, didn't seem to affect the Bulldogs on offense, either.

In the first three possessions, BBA made a 3-pointer on each, while forcing Fair Haven into turnovers. Long bombs from Joey Shehadi, Conor Harrington and Ryan Smith got the Bulldogs off and running to a 9-0 lead.

Harrington scored 21 points, getting to the rim at will. But he was also on point from the outside, knocking down three 3-pointers. He also had five steals.

Taylor Muench added 20, while Smith had an efficient game, scoring 11 points, grabbing four rebounds and making six steals.

"The games are short, we like to get the blood pumping right off the bat and it was effective today," Shehadi said. "We got out quick, we were lucky, you can miss a couple and get impatient but we got going."

The Slaters' Lucas Czarnecki scored the next six to pull Fair Haven to 9-6, but the Bulldogs' offense went into overdrive, scoring the final 13 points of the first quarter for a 22-8 lead.

"I tried to get the ball inside first to open up the outside shot," Harrington said. "The outside shot was falling, which opened the inside to kick [the ball] out to open teammates. We were able to push the score with the press and tempo."

Fair Haven got back into the game late in the first half, using an 8-1 run to pull within nine with two minutes left. But Muench nailed two back-to-back threes to extend the advantage to 38-22 at the half.

"We practice a lot of shooting, if a kid's open they know who has the green light and who doesn't," Shehadi said. "We like it when it's going in, not so much when it isn't."

The BBA offense slowed a bit in the second half, but the defense held Fair Haven off the scoreboard for the first five minutes of the third to up their lead to 49-28 after three quarters. In all, Shehadi and Cody Gilbert had four steals apiece for the Bulldogs.

"We have a bunch of different defenses, a full court man press and zone press," Harrington said. "We try to double to the corners and force bad passes, the key is pressure on the ball which opens up a lot of traps."

Emptying the bench in the fourth, BBA outscored the Slaters 20-4.

"I think 1 through 7 or 8 is capable of double digits," Shehadi said. "We try to get Joe and Conor some shots, and Taylor was shooting it tonight. They look for each other, relocate well. I'm pleased that we took care of business."

BBA has started the season 3-0, but the schedule ratchetes up with four games in the next week, including a rematch against Vergennes on Wednesday that was postponed.

"It's good to get off to a 3-0 start, but we can't focus on that, we have to look at every one as [we're] 0-0," Harrington said. "We're psyched to play [Vergennes], we just wanted to play so bad, especially at home."


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