By Cat Calsolaro
There will definitely be a lot of running and a lot of defensive drills tomorrow, said Minutemen Tech coach John Fusco after his teams 77-61 home victory over CASH on Tuesday night. It isnt the typical response from a winning coach who just watched three of his players score in double figures and one put on an amazing performance - but this isnt the typical team.
The Mustangs are 7-1 (the loss a 43-42 buzzer-beater to Lynn Tech in their third game), not bad for a team whose combined record over the previous three seasons was 15-45.
CASHs Jayshawn Edwards put up 32 points and controlled the boards on both ends. We matched him up with a guard, but he penetrated us, he made great moves to the basket, grabbed his rebounds and got layups, said Fusco.
But the offensive star was junior guard Brandon Robinson who had a Rajon Rondo-like 18 assists to go with 8 points for Minutemen.
Brandon was trying to keep everyone involved in the game, said Fusco. He was finding everyone in the zone. It is definitely very unusual to see 18 assists in a high school game.
I think he wanted to take control and make sure people got good shots tonight. He found a lot of open men. He was phenomenal. He could have had even more had the other shots had gone in.
Fusco took over the varsity basketball team at the start of the 2010-11 season, turning a one-win team into a four-win team, and last year his Mustangs finished 10-10 with a spot in the postseason tournament.
The Mustangs went up, 18-8, in the first quarter but found themselves in foul trouble by the end of the first half. CASH made a 9-point run to close the gap to 36-27 going into the third quarter.
A strategy change in the second half protected Minutemens lead.
We went into full denial on Edwards. One of my seniors and one of my freshman did a nice job slowing him down and it allowed us to maintain that lead, said Fusco.
Junior center Mike Wiederkehr also took control of the paint, finishing with 11 rebounds and five blocks.
On the offensive side, sophomore guard Darrel Akins, continued to do what he has all season, scoring 21 points with seven assists. Senior captain guard Jake ONeil had 16 points, and Wiederkehr had 14.
Were going forward, which is great, said Fusco. Brandon and Darrel were both new to the school this year and their tenacity is what really helped to push us in this direction.
The nice thing is we havent even really jelled yet. The kids play well together, they play hard together. We have a lot of tough games coming up and I think they welcome the competition.