Monday, December 21, 2009

Dennis the menace: CBA senior does all the little things for the Brothers

Christian Brothers Academy hosts Schenectady Tuesday night in a battle for the top spot in the Big 10 Conference.
Game time is slated for 7:30 p.m. and tickets will go on sale to the general public around 5:45 p.m. Seating is limited in the CBA gym, so tickets will be available on a first come, first served basis.

More on the matchup later in the post...

CBA junior Max Weaver (left) and Josh Dennis (right) pose for a picture in the school's Ned McGraw Gymnasium after Monday's practice. (Photos by Tom Killips - The Record).

Dennis has been an invaluable part of the CBA offense the last few years, even if he isn't the one scoring all the points. He plays shooting guard in the Brothers' guard-heavy scheme, but is often setting up players like senior forward Kameron Ritter and junior point guard Galal Cancer for shots.

Weaver has become the team's three-point specialist and also benefits from teams focusing on Ritter and Cancer.

Max Weaver shows off his dribbling skills on top of the CBA logo after Monday's practice.

The Brothers return many players from their 2008-09 Section II Class AA championship team, but they miss Andrew Stire, who at 6-foot-8, was the anchor of the Brothers defense. Now, without a true center, the Brothers have had to adapt to a more focused and responsible defensive scheme.

A year ago, the CBA guards could afford to play more aggressive around the perimeter, knowing Stire was behind them to make a stop or grab a rebound. This year, the Brothers have had to play more cleanly on the defensive end.

"The good thing about our team is that nobody cares who the leader is," Weaver said. "Nobody has to be the high scorer. If there is a weak link on the other team, everybody can take advantage of that. It doesn’t have to be one person."

Josh Dennis practices his jump shot during Monday's practice. He's only scored 15 points through five games but is a vital key to the Brothers offense, setting up shots for other players.

"I was talking to him after last game," said CBA head coach Dave Doemel. "I said, with Galal and Kameron going to the basket like they do, if you just are patient and put yourself in the right position, you can cash in on teams trying to defend them. Because both of those guys are unselfish, they’ll find JD."

CBA (5-0, 5-0) plays host to Schenectady (4-0, 4-0) tonight in what promises to be a run-and-gun offensive battle both ways. Derrick, Shadell and Devonte Millinghaus - Schenectady's brother trio - love to run the floor like crazy, as does anyone Schenectady head coach Mark Sausville puts on the floor.

"I think it’s going to be a fun game," Dennis said. "It will be a quick game, very fast-paced."

It will definitely be loud in the cozy McGraw gymnasium and however it plays out, will likely go a long way in determining the 2009-10 Big 10 Conference champion. At least it will give us an idea of who is the best team at this stage in the season.

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