Chicopee Comp beat Minnechaug, on Tuesday by 2, before Friday’s matchup against Paulo Freire. Seniors Dennis Popovichenko and John Vandal seemed poised to give Paulo Freire a competitive game tonight.
Chicopee Comp did compete tonight.
Paulo Freire won the game 77-36. The Panthers were lead in scoring by Alex Barber. He had a game-high 16 points. Will Johnson and Emmanuel Cruz both had 14 points.
Popovichenko had 11 points. Colin Scammon had 10 points.
From the start, Paulo Freire was too athletic for Chicopee Comp. The Panthers got 3 early fast break dunks by Barber and Emmanuel Cruz. The Panthers got to any spot they wanted to on the floor. They took the shots they wanted to take, not shots that Chicopee Comp forced them to take.
Barber outshined his teammates Wilson and Johnson tonight. Barber did a little bit of everything. The previously mentioned fast-break dunks; he brought the ball up the court several times and ran the offense; in the second half, he hit 2 threes.
Johnson had a steady game. He missed some make-able shots; he could have had over 20 easily.
Even though Barber got his opportunities to bring the ball up the court, Chandler Wilson Jr. had the majority of Point Guard duties. When I spoke to Paulo Freire Head Coach Steven Rodriguez after the game, he lauded Wilson Jr.’s leadership ability. He says that Wilson Jr. wants to get 10 assists per game so that his teammates are involved at all times. In this game, he didn’t look for his shot much; he had 8 points, scoring 4 in each half. Even though he didn’t score many points tonight, he did galvanize the team in other positive ways to guide the team to victory.
Another bright spot for Paulo Freire was Emmanuel Cruz. Last season, Cruz played for the High School of Commerce. This season he is at Paulo Freire and he is flourishing. He is active on both ends of the court. He has a good jump-shot but he is constantly attacking the rim and he can definitely finish at the rim.
Other Scorers for Paulo Friere:
Christian Fontanez - 10 points
Zyir Harris - 9 points
Sandro Diaz - 5 points
Other Scorers for Chicopee Comp:
Mason Carriveau - 8 points
Luke Theroux - 4 points
John Vandal - 2 points
Chris Chhoun - 1 point
The biggest key to victory tonight for Paulo Freire was their “2-2-1 press”. When they were able to apply the press, they got turnovers and sped up Chicopee Comp’s offensive flow. HC Rodriguez believes that his press would give any team in Western Mass problems.
While the game wasn’t close after the first quarter, Chicopee Comp didn’t stop playing hard or with purpose. I give that credit to their Head Coach, Gavin Miller.
Paulo Freire was too much for Chicopee Comp tonight. Wilson, Johnson, Barber and Cruz are tough to deal with 💪🏽.