Atkins gets it done against Bishop McGuinness

Atkins gets it done against Bishop McGuinness
January 29
00:00 2015
(Photo by Craig T. Greenlee, Above: Justin Nolan (50) of Atkins drives to the basket for the game-winning score as David Molen defends.)

It appears that the Atkins Camels are in “get over the hump” mode in junior varsity basketball. As of Jan. 22, the Camels had won three of their last four games, which included victories over Walkertown, Carver and Bishop McGuinness.

Lineup changes and a sustained commitment to function as a singular unit have sparked a turnaround. Atkins’ overall record of 4-11 is not a true indicator of the team’s level of improvement in recent weeks. What’s more telling is the Camels’ 3-3 mark in Northwest 1-A Conference games. The Camels took another step toward gaining respectability in recording a thrilling 41-39 win over Bishop McGuinness on Jan. 20.

Atkins 2

Atkins guard Syrus Sadler rises up to shoot a jumper.

“Team basketball, that was the difference,” said Coach David Prim of Atkins. “Everybody is beginning to buy in to the team concepts that we’ve been emphasizing. There’s more unity among the players. Earlier this season, we played a lot of ‘me’ ball. Now they’re finding out that playing team ball is the way to win games. We didn’t help ourselves with the way we shot at the foul line. If we make some free throws, the game wouldn’t have been as close as it turned out to be.”

Even though Syrus Sadler (14 points) was the only Atkins player to score in double figures, his teammates provided sufficient support to help deliver the victory. Justin Nolan, who finished with six points and a game-high 10 rebounds, scored two of his baskets during the latter stages of a tense fourth quarter.

Atkins led 24-19 at halftime, but Bishop McGuinness bounced back to cut the Camels’ lead to 37-33 with 4:15 left to play in the game. Nolan scored from inside to push the lead to 6 points, but C.J. Cappuccio hit a 3-pointer and Brad Standen added a free throw to make it 39-37 in favor of the Camels.

On Atkins’ next possession, Nolan broke free on a drive from the left wing and delivered what proved to be the game-winning points. The Villains responded with a score by Andrew Desalvo, but they were never able to draw closer.

The two teams traded turnovers on back-to-back possessions in the final minute of play. Desalvo attempted to tie the game with a short jumper, but Garrett Whitaker blocked the shot. In the meantime, the Camels missed four free throws, which gave the Villains one more opportunity to win with time running out. For the game, Atkins went 6-of-17 at the free-throw line.

On Bishop McGuinness’s final possession of the game, Standen found enough space to get off a potential game-winning 3-pointer. But the shot was off target, and Montel Twyman of Atkins grabbed the rebound as the final buzzer sounded.

Standen was a source of irritation for the Camels the last time these teams met in early December. The Villains won by double digits and Standen scored 25 points. This time, intensified defensive efforts produced a different outcome, and Standen was held to 14 points.

“We did a much better job on him this time,” said Prim. “The defense made it a lot more difficult for him to get good looks at the basket.”

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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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