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Bloomingdale boys' basketball benefits from up-tempo offense

BY BEN HENDERSON
Special Correspondent

Published:   |   Updated: January 14, 2014 at 11:34 AM

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BLOOMINGDALE – Prior to the start of the 2013-14 season, Bloomingdale boys basketball coach Joe Willis did a little research project. He was looking for a way to turn the fortunes around for the Bulls after four straight losing seasons. After years of playing a slow and more methodical style of offense, Willis wanted a more up-tempo offense.

“We averaged 43 points per game last year, which was third worst in Hillsborough County,” Wills said.

The faster tempo has worked well for Bloomingdale, as the Bulls are averaging 64 points per game and, more importantly, have a 12-4 record as of Jan. 9.

“(Being 12-4) is not a surprise based on our returners. We had seven returners this year and knew we had an opportunity,” Wills said.

Leading the way has been 6-foot-9-inch center George Brammeier, a senior who is committed to play for Lipscomb University next season. Brammeier has been averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds per game.

Bloomingdale tries not to rely on just Brammeier, though. Wills said when the Bulls are playing their best, multiple players contribute on offense. So far, juniors Todd Kaiser and Logan Crouse have averaged more than 10 points per game, scoring 12.4 and 11.5 respectively. Seniors Grant Townsend and Jake Baer are not too far behind with 9.8 and 9.1 points per game themselves.

“The goal is to have four guys score in double figures every game,” Wills said.

Bloomingdale has defeated some notable opponents this year. It knocked off Brandon in nondistrict play and won the Alonso Holiday Tournament over the winter break. The Bulls opened that tournament by beating 13-2 Wesley Chapel before going on to beat Robinson and Armwood for the title.

Wills hopes the tournament was a good dress rehearsal for what is to come next month. Alonso will be the host of the district tournament, where teams like 13-2 Wharton and 12-5 Plant will be standing in its way.

Between now and then, Wills would like to tighten up the defense as well as get a little bit better jump shooting.

“We would like to shoot the ball from three better. That way other teams cannot just key in on our big guys down low,” Wills said.

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