BRIDEPORT — Not that the Bassick High School boys basketball team needed any added incentive but Wednesday’s opponent Hamden seemed to have provided one anyway before the game started.
“During the day (a Hamden player) was talking smack and posted on social media about how they were going to beat us tonight,” Bassick’s Kevin Crawford said. “So I told my teammates to not respond on social media, and to do our talking on the court.”
Well, Crawford did the loudest talking Wednesday night. Crawford scored 30 points, pulled down 11 rebounds and dished out six assists as the Lions won 64-58 in this battle between two of the top five teams in the state.
Crawford had lots of help, though. Emery Linton had 14 of his 17 points in the first half when the Lions opened a 12-point halftime lead. Linton added six rebounds and four assists. Jordan Gallimore, Javier Hernandez and Isaiah Sullivan also had strong all-around games as third-ranked Bassick (2-0) knocked of No. 5 Hamden (1-1).
“We’re not a one-man team,” Bassick coach Bernie Lofton said. “We rebound, play defense and share the ball. We played really well against a very good team.”
Hamden, which trailed 39-27 at the half and 43-27 early in the third quarter, rallied behind star point guard Victor Rosario. Rosario scored 18 points to go with eight assists, but had an uncharacteristic nine turnovers.
“An up and down night for him,” Hamden coach Jarrad Beck said.
Hamden did get within three (46-43) before the third quarter had ended. But the Green Dragons could get no closer than two (50-48) the rest of the way.
“It’s still early in the season so like Victor, we had some ups and downs as a team,” Beck said. “It was great the way we fought back but Bassick is extremely athletic and got a lot of second shots.”
Hamden, which finished with 21 turnovers while forcing 11, had a height advantage with Justice Washington (12 points, 13 rebounds) and Fabian Cox (10 boards) and outrebounded the Lions 45-30. But the Lions cashed in on their second-chance points and won the battle of 50/50 balls.
Bassick looked totally in charge as the third period opened but the Lions knew this was going to get close.
“I told my kids at halftime to expect Hamden to make a run and for this game to go down to the last minutes,” Lofton said.
“Every great team,” Crawford added, referring to Hamden, “makes a run.”
Early in the fourth quarter Bassick led 60-52 but four minutes later the lead was 60-58. However, Hamden did not score again and the Lions were able to avenge the social media pre-game “smack talk” while also alerting the rest of the state that they are a legitimate championship contender this season.
“We’re playing a real tough schedule and I think we will be a team that will be there at the end,” Lofton said.
Player of the Game
Kevin Crawford did it all, scoring 30 points, pulling down 11 rebounds and passing for six assists.
“We’re not a one-man team but Crawford is so consistent and is one of the top five scorers in the state.” — Bassick coach Bernie Lofton
BASSICK 64, HAMDEN 58
Jermaine Dennis 1 0-0 2; Corey Walters 2 1-2 6; Victor Rosario 7 2-2 18; Fabian Cox 2 3-6 7; Justice Washington 6 0-3 12; Jayvon Chapman 2 1-2 6; Justin Radford 2 0-3 4; Keari Cofield-Crew 0 0-0 0; Heston Tucker 1 0-0 3. TOTALS: 23-65 7-18 58
Emery Linton 6 3-8 17; Jordan Gallimore 4 1-4 9; Isaiah Sullivan 1 0-0 2; Kevin Crawford 11 7-10 30; Julio De Los Santos 0 0-0 0; Giovanni Santiago 0 0-0 0; Joe Torres 0 0-0 0; Deandre Morgan 0 0-0 0; Javier Hernandez 2 2-3 6; Rasheen Payne 0 0-0 0; Jason Marrero 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 24-57 13-25 64
Hamden 19 8 16 15 —58
Bassick 18 21 11 14 —64
3-pointers: H – Rosario 2, Walters, Chapman, Tucker. B – Linton 2, Crawford.