BEVERLY — The Endicott men’s and women’s basketball teams had similar starts to the season as both clubs won early and often heading into 2013.
With Nichols visiting MacDonald Gymnasium last night, the Gulls women held home court with a 63-41 win while the men fell 130-106. Looking ahead, the two Gulls teams are standing on very different ground.
At 4-0 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference and 8-3 overall, the women are talented, deep and most importantly healthy. The men meanwhile dropped to 7-4 overall, 2-2 in the CCC and are left treading water awaiting the returns of injured impact players Andre Makris, captain Lachlan Magee and captain Tyler Burkhart.
For the women, the key to the team’s early success has been defense. Last night was no different as the Gulls held Nichols to just 16 points in the first half.
“Defense is a huge focus for us day in and day out. We talk about active hands and active mouths all the time. We are trying to get opponents off of their game,” said coach Brittany Hutchinson. “We try to switch things up a lot and run some man, run some zone and press. Defensively that is our focus.”
Running the two-one-two full court press virtually the entire game, Endicott forced turnover after turnover and capitalized with easy buckets on the other end in transition.
“It was pretty good pressure from Endicott. They didn’t allow the ball to go through the middle which was tough for us. And we had a lot of stupid turnovers,” explained Nichols (4-6) cooach Alice Mullen. “They (Endicott) worked hard and they were active in it (the press) and it gave us a lot of trouble. “
Teams tend to take on the personality of their coaches and with the fiery Hutchinson on the bench it’s no wonder the Gulls play with a lot of intensity.