Bucs Begin Challenging Stretch
BHS Boys Team Scheduled to Face 3 of County's Top Teams This Week
This likely won’t be an easy week for the Bucs. It began with a loss, and two more challenging foes await.
But head coach Ted Sochaski says that if he learned one thing from Tuesday night’s game it is that his players will battle until the final buzzer sounds.
“We battled and I think the kids understand that by battling to the end, we are going to keep ourselves in the game until the end,” said Sochaski.
The Bucs are 4-9 and Tuesday’s 59-43 loss to Livingston was their third straight defeat. But the game was closer than the final score would seem to indicate. The Bucs trailed by two after the first quarter and trailed by only one point with 2:24 left in the second quarter. But Livingston scored the final five points of the first half and then scored a whopping 21 points in the third quarter.
“That’s a good team,” said Sochaski. “That’s what a good team does. They hit their open 3’s. It seemed like they hit all of them. That’s why they are a top-10 team in Essex County. We gave them our best shot.”
Livingston (9-1), which downed Belleville 46-39 in the third game of the season, is currently ranked 10th in the county.
The road doesn’t get any easier this week for the Bucs.
Belleville is scheduled to host Central, the county’s third-ranked team, on Thursday at 4 p.m. On Saturday, in the preliminary round of the Essex County Tournament, Belleville will visit Orange, which is ranked eighth in the county.
That makes three top-10 teams this week.
“We have a tough week ahead of us,” said Sochaski. “We just have to be competitive – and just play. Anything can happen.”
With 10 games left on the schedule, Sochaski is still hopeful the Bucs can reach double-digit wins this season. He said he likes the way his team has been battling of late and also likes the way his team seems to get a balanced team effort on most nights.
Forward Tommy Rosario is leading the Bucs with his 14.7 points per game. Forward Julian Rodriguez is averaging 11.3 points per game. Guard Keith Everett scored a team-high 12 points against Livingston on Tuesday – including three on a shot from near half-court as time expired at the end of the third quarter – and averages 9.3 points per game. Guard Kamal Miller averages 7.0 points per game, while guard Shariff Dixon averages 6.4 points per game.
The Bucs, meanwhile, need to continue to work on limiting their turnovers (Sochaski estimates his team is committing 20 turnovers a game). The team also needs to improve its free-throw shooting (Sochaski estimates the team is shooting only about 57 percent from the line).
“We’re beating ourselves, if you think about it. And we are a young team,” said Sochaski. “I’m still happy and confident in the team and with the direction we are headed.”
The Bucs’ appearance in the county tournament this weekend will be their first under Sochaski.
“I’m excited,” said the fourth-year head coach. “I think it’s a pretty good matchup.”