Berkshire County locals thriving on the basketball court at Salisbury School
WILLIAMSTOWN — It would be fair to say that the members of the Salisbury School boys basketball team would like a better record than 1-5. Other than that, things are going pretty well for Pittsfield's Bryce Daley and Dalton's Brandon Roughley.
The Berkshire County duo are the leading scorers for Harlan Dodson's Salisbury team, which rolled through Berkshire County on Monday. The Knights dropped an 81-79 decision to the Williams College junior varsity, a team that played with four members of the Eph varsity on its roster.
Daley is a senior and will be heading off to the University of Massachusetts Lowell to play Division I basketball in the fall. He said after a 15-point, 6-rebound, 5-assist, 5-steal game that this year has felt much different.
"The difference is I'm going out there trying to have fun and win games," Daley said after Monday's game, "and not really worrying about the whole recruiting process. I'm just going out with my team to try and win as many games as possible."
That's something Dodson has seen a lot. The former Williams player was an assistant at New Hampton prep school before coming to Salisbury, and that school has sent many players to Division I colleges.
"I think a lot of the guys feel liberated when they sign," Dodson said. "I remember guys who initially were enjoying their recruitment process, because it's a lot of attention. Then it kind of got pretty stressful, actually, because you are telling guys no at the end of the day.
"I think it's been good for him to have it over with, and not have to worry about it."
Roughley played two seasons at Wahconah before reclassifying as a sophomore at Salisbury.
"It's my home. It's always good to come back and play in front of your home crowd," Roughley said, of his return to Berkshire County.
In the game against Williams, he spent a lot of time battling against freshman forward Marc Taylor, and won most of those battles. Roughley had a Salisbury career-high 36 points, including 24 in the second half. The 6-foot-8 forward had seven rebounds and a pair of steals.
"He's a good player. He's long and athletic," Roughley said. "I want to play college basketball and those are the guys I'm going to have to go up against.
"It's good experience."
Taylor also had a good day, scoring 23 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. He blocked three shots.
In Monday's game, Salisbury fell behind 18-5 before Roughley stopped the bleeding with a drive down the lane for two. Salisbury trailed 46-32 at halftime, but battled back to take a 74-73 lead when Roughley made 1 of 2 from the line. Williams freshman Michael Myers then scored five straight points, putting the home team up for good. Myers finished with 26 points, 17 in the second half.
Roughley gave the Knights one last chance on a 3-pointer with 3.2 seconds left, making it 80-79. Vince Brookins, a varsity player coming off an ankle injury, hit 1 of 2 free throws with two seconds left for Williams. Salisbury got a desperation three-quarter court shot off, but it was way off the mark.
"We couldn't buy" a basket down the stretch, said Daley. "We had a tough game Saturday and lost by a bucket at the end. [Williams] just executed really well. That's the maturity coming from a college team. They just execute down the stretch and get good looks.
"We were getting good looks too, but they weren't really falling."
For Roughley, the adjustment to being at prep school and playing a different level of basketball has been a challenge. He said that he has, to date, handled those challenges.
"It's been really good. It's been eye-opening to see the talent out there and how hard I have to work to get where some of those kids are," Roughley said. "This is the first year I could really step out on the wing and shoot the ball. I guess going from a five to a wing player is a lot more fun.
"I like it a lot more, but it's definitely a challenge."
Dodson said that the major adjustment Roughley has had to make is that the sophomore forward is not necessarily the biggest player on the floor.
"The size and the athleticism of the guys he's going against" is different, the coach said. "He's quick. He's averaging [21.5 points per game] so far. Some stuff that he could get away with at one point in his life, he can't get away with any more. It's building good habits for him.
"He's playing really well."
Daley, meanwhile, is averaging 18.1 points per game. He had 20 in a 58-56 loss to Trinity Pawling back on Jan. 6, and a season-high 27 in a loss at Hotchkiss back in December. Dodson said Daley has a 4-to-1 assist to turnover ratio as well.
The former Pittsfield High School product has his eyes on this season, but said he can't help looking ahead.
"I'm pretty focused on the season right now and getting through this year," Daley said. "I do talk to some of the guys, like [Lowell High School guard] Alex [Rivera] who committed. We're excited.
"I follow Lowell and I talk to the coaches, and I'm really excited for it."
Howard Herman can be reached at email@example.com, at @howardherman on Twitter, and 413-496-6253.
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