The Delaware Blue Coats’ homecoming on Nov. 6 was short-lived as the team immediately had to hit the road to play their next four games.
First, the Blue Coats went to face the Maine Celtics for two games and then went down to Georgia for two more games against the College Park Skyhawks. The Blue Coats would go 3-1 over this stretch, bringing their record to 4-1 for the season.
Starting in Maine, the team had their first victory of the road trip on Friday, Nov. 12, defeating the Celtics 114-103. Jaden Springer would be the top scorer for the Blue Coats with 21 points.
This was Springer’s first game with Delaware, as both he and teammate Aaron Henry were called to the Philadelphia 76ers for a few games. Despite the fact that Henry didn’t play until the game against the Skyhawks, the return of Springer and Henry was big for the team.
“They’ve been really good. Jaden Springer, Aaron Henry, those guys have been professionals. They’ve been themselves. They’ve been part of the team and the transition with them has been somewhat seamless,” Assistant Coach Isaiah Fox said. “I’ve been really happy with their performance on the court and them just being a part of the team off the court. I think they have a really good connection with their teammates and Jaden Springer performed amazingly in their trip to Maine.”
In the Blue Coats’ second game against Maine on Sunday, Nov. 14, they were defeated 113-108 in their first loss of the season. While the team never wants to lose a game, according to Blue Coats veteran Jared Brownridge, this wasn’t the worst loss.
“I think the loss against Maine, it was a good loss for us because one, it was our first loss, so we’re able to learn a lot from it. Obviously, we don’t want to let that one slip, but we realized despite not being together the way we wanted to be towards the end of the game, it still ended up being a close game,” Brownridge said. “So that shows you that if we just tweak a few things here or there, the ball game would have been ours.”
The Blue Coats didn’t let the loss slow them down as the next weekend they went to Atlanta, where they would sweep the Skyhawks. In the first game on Friday, Nov. 19, the Blue Coats won 109-101 and won 116-97 at their second matchup on Sunday, Nov. 21.
Brownridge credited learning from their loss against Maine for the two wins over the Skyhawks.
“I think coming out this past weekend in Atlanta, we wanted to make sure, since it was a similar set up [to the series against Maine], playing on Friday, day off Saturday, and play again on Sunday, we wanted to make sure we came out Sunday with that same energy that we had Friday and make sure that we were doing all the things that we talk about. Just push the ball, throwing ahead, gang rebound,” Brownridge said. “All those things, we wanted to make sure we kept the energy up and I think because we kept a focus on that and realized what happened in Maine, that is the main reason we came out with two wins in Atlanta.”
Both weekend series had strong offensive performances, with nine different players having at least one double-digit scoring game during these games. The team also performed well on the defensive end. They currently lead the league in steals, averaging 13.8 per game, a stat that Brownridge is not surprised about.
“The fact that we’re much smaller than a traditional team means that we can be quicker and that doesn’t just mean quick on the offensive end, but it also means quicker on the defensive end,” Brownridge said. “We want to be able to get deflections, we want to be able to be aggressive and be a little bit on the risker side because we’re much quicker, so we want to go for those steals, and honestly having good defensive plays like that leads to more offensive plays.”
Overall, the team’s defensive performance along with the fact they were able to hold their own on the road for these past four games has been one of the more impressive things for Coach Fox.
“Honestly, it has been our defensive resiliency over the last four games. You know, they’re all road trip games, they’re not the easiest atmosphere to win in against talented teams and I think we took the challenge on each game,” Coach Fox said. “Our guys battled each and every game. There were some moments where things weren’t easy and things weren’t very clear and I think they were able to defensively pull these games out for us, pulling stops and getting easy baskets in transition.”
The Blue Coats will return home again to face the Raptors 905 this upcoming Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 27 and 28.
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