Gilbert Athletics in the News
Gilbert boys fall, 86-29
WINSTED — A tough season for the Gilbert School varsity boys basketball team (1-11) got a little uglier on Monday, Jan. 30, as Canton (11-2) rolled into Winsted and battered the Yellowjackets to the tune of 86-29.
Although Gilbert ensured they would not go winless by beating Lichfield 40-37 on Jan. 20, the rebuilding continues for head coach Mark Douglass and his young squad.
The team, despite exhibiting consistent growth and a dogged, never-say-die attitude through a myriad of blowout losses, is still far from competing with a roster as experienced as the Warriors.
“Once we start scoring, these kids will be okay,” said Douglass. “Because they did some of things I needed them to do. But we were physically a little overmatched.”
Despite its giving up 86 points, Douglass said he did not think his defense played poorly. Turnovers, combined with a hesitant half-court offense, gave Canton the impetus to run up and down the court, blowing past Gilbert in transition and harassing the young Yellowjacket guards around the arc.
The Yellowjackets coughed up the ball 22 times, including six early that allowed Canton to sprint out to a 22-2 first quarter lead.
“We’re always a step slow,” said Douglass. “We need to anticipate, move on the pass; we’re getting there, from where we were at the beginning of the year to now, we’re getting better. We just didn’t finish.”
In physicality and on-court experience, the Yellowjackets have yet to measure up to the Berkshire League’s best. Junior guards Dylan Thomson and Ryley Weiss are listed at 5-feet-2-inches and 5-feet-3-inches, respectively, and neither had significant varsity experience coming into this year.
Center Steven Marshall, a senior who was recently awarded all-league honors playing defensive line for the Gilbert-Northwestern football team, led the Yellowjackets on Monday with nine points. Marshall also has little organized basketball experience, and while his athleticism has made him a standout particularly on defense, Gilbert desperately needs players who can run a half-court set.
“Our quarter-court offense is nowhere near what we need it to be, because we don’t score enough,” said Douglass. “But our quarter-court defense honestly works okay. When we get outrebounded and they’re beating us up and down the floor, that hurts.”
Canton had three players score in double figures, with freshman Jack Rose leading all players with 18. Much of the Warriors’ scoring came on fast breaks off turnovers, or uncontested threes as the Yellowjackets struggled to get settled in transition.
“Not one of our kids has a lot of varsity experience, so it’s trial by fire right now for them,” said Douglass.
Douglass continued to stress the steep learning curve that has made implementing his offense difficult. That was very apparent at times on Monday, especially when the aggressive Canton defense trapped out on the wings or doubled inside, and Gilbert players lost their composure, and more often than not, the ball as well.
“Our thought process, our decision making, because it’s so quick, they’re not used to it,” said Douglass. “That’s where we make the mistakes. So trying to get them to slow themselves down, let the game around them be fast. But when you have the ball, slow yourself down and let something develop.”
The future, however, looks a little brighter for Gilbert. With seven games remaining, including five at home, Douglass said he is looking carry some momentum into the off season, where the Yellowjackets will finally have some space to grow, both in basketball knowledge and in the weight-room.
“I talked to [the team], I said the difference is, [Canton] works during the off season. We talked about what we needed to do to commit to the off season and to be ready for next season, because we have a lot coming back.”
Gilbert plays next at home against Shepaug on Friday, Feb. 3.