Delaware Blue Coats starting to roll, defeat Greensboro Swarm at home

Jared Brownridge takes the ball up the court. Brownridge scored a season-high 18 points against Greensboro. - Tuesday, Mar. 14, 2023. - Photo via Tyrese Williams

After a shaky start to open the season, the Delaware Blue Coats (5-3) picked up their third straight win and fourth in five games after a 123-113 win over the Greensboro Swarm (2-8) on Saturday, Dec. 2.

“Our practices have definitely been better,” Chris Clarke said. “We’ve been moving the ball better and it translates over to the game, and then [we’ve] just been knocking down shots.”

Despite the difference in records, the game was a close battle throughout. The Blue Coats came out of the gates hot, opening the game on a 9-0 run and grabbed a lead as big as 17 at one point in the first, but the Swarm would storm back. After being outscored by eight in the first quarter, the Swarm flipped the script and outscored the Coats by seven in the second to trail by just one entering the break.

A large part of this second-quarter struggle was due to the switch in the Swarm’s defense. They switched to a zone defense, which caused havoc on the Coats’ offense, as they shot just 42 percent from the field in the second and turned the ball over six times.

“I thought their zone bothered us a little bit and I always thought we got a little careless,” head coach Mike Longabardi said. “We didn’t get matched up and then all that stuff adds up, so if we just stay disciplined, then we’ll put ourselves in a position like we did in the second half.”

Luckily for the Coats, a third-quarter explosion from beyond the arc was awaiting them, as they sank eight of 13 threes to put them up 12 entering the fourth. A large part of this second-half scoring outburst was from Jared Brownridge, who came off the bench and set a new season-high in points with 18.

“Today you saw our sharpshooter getting loose,” Clarke said. “Coach [Longabardi] made an emphasis about that in practice, we need to find him [Brownridge]. He’s one of the best shooters in the league, he should be shooting more shots so find a way to hit him.”

His six threes also helped contribute to the Blue Coats new season-high in three-pointers made with 21.

“It’s very contagious,” Clarke said. “Just the life that it brings, the energy. I know you guys saw it, our whole team was hype.”

The Blue Coats were aided by the return of Pat McCaw, who had been nursing a lower-body injury. In his first game back against the Long Island Nets, McCaw recorded two points, three assists, and two steals in 14 minutes. Tonight, he was a crucial part of a disruptive Coats defense that forced 24 turnovers, getting his hands on any passes that went near him.

“Pat’s been good, he’s been giving us a lift of energy,” Longabardi said. “It’s taking him a little bit of time, same thing with Marcus [Bagley] and JC [Jared Cumberland], they’ve been out. But, Pat’s been around, so all that experience is so valuable.”

The Blue Coats will look to keep the winning streak alive when they take on the 5-4 Maine Celtics on Wednesday, Dec. 6, before returning home on Saturday, Dec. 9, for another match against the Greensboro Swarm.

“Right now, every team is dangerous,” Longabardi said. “When you look at the standings, there’s a couple that haven’t won but that team is going to compete like everyone else.. These guys are good too. They’re not just throwing in the towel. They play hard, they’re well coached and give them credit for competing.”

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