Bermudian Springs’ country mile-depth and hot shooting put a major scare into South Western during the Eagles’ 47-46 loss to South Western during the YAIAA Tournament semifinal.
Only problem was, the Eagles’ balance in the score sheet did not mirror Bermudian’s balance of attack. Nobody was attacking the basket. No player was pursuing the driving lanes and there was no post game presence. Plain and simple, they lived and died beyond the confines of the arc.
Bermudian relied too heavily on an arsenal of three-point bombs and deep jumpers, which bolstered them until they hit a gigantic cold spot.
Khalid Nwandu (15.5 ppg) , Chris Nwandu (16.2 ppg), and Elijah Cooper(14.6) have formed a three-headed mauling machine. Beyond this big three, no player has eclipsed more than 23 field goals this season.
There’s an old basketball adage, “if you kill the head, the body will die.”
No doubt, the triumvirate of the Nwandus and Cooper is the head engine that makes this team go. Bermudian has stocked the system with big athletes that have performed strictly on the defensive end but neutralizing this tremendous trio seems like a daunting task.
If Bermudian can sustain the potent shooting it displayed in the first three and a half quarters against South Western and get its top free throw shooters to the stripe more (Neil Murren shoots a blistering 90 percent from the line, Silas Murren shoots 80 percent), they could add on to an already historic 2011-12 campaign.
The perimeter game will be there. With a slew of shootists such as Tyler Hursh (24 three-pointers), Zach Stroup (21), Neil Murren, and Austin Hartzell, sniping is not the concern.
Coach Flaherty’s system preaches old-fashioned basketball, predicated primarily on layups, free throws, fluid ball movement and crucial stops down the stretch.
Flaherty’s system is free of flash, bizazz, oversized egos or isolation plays. That’s what makes Bermudian so unique. They don’t have a featured scorer or a superstar. They rely on relative balance, which is led by Aaron Huntington’s 9.5 points per. They rely on a deep bench, with everyone that checks into the game leaving fingerprints on the win.
Bermudian must get into attack mode early. The Eagles fell down by a 9-2 margin before catching fire against South Western.
They must whizz passes and float it into the open man, which seemed to work so well during the regular season. The sheer depth and balance of Bermudian could overwhelm Northeastern if they get saddled with foul trouble.
Northeastern is likely to install a physical, go-go brand of basketball that could potentially expose the Eagles.