NEW CANAAN, Conn. St. Lukes boys basketball coach Brian Kriftcher knew 2011-12 would be a rebuilding season when the final buzzer sounded on the Storms conference title run this past February. Only five players from that team, not one of them a starter, have returned.
The experience deficit was painfully obvious in St. Luke's 65-31 season opening loss against Greens Farms Academy on Tuesday. First-game jitters ran amok as the Storm shot under 15 percent from the field and struggled with poor passing and traveling violations.
St. Lukes could not contain Greens Farms center Sean Obi. The 6-foot-9 junior was in midseason form, posting his 27th consecutive double-double. He finished with 28 points, 19 rebounds and three blocks.
Weve been working on a lot, but its a lot different playing against ourselves, and when the lights go on, you have to make plays, Kriftcher said. Obi is a tremendous player and we really had no answer for him. We tried playing him man-to-man, but we just dont have the team to play him like that.
St. Lukes top scorer was Sean Cullinane, but he was held to just eight points. Elijah Holyfield contributed seven points, and Noel Prince added six.
Both teams started slowly, with neither taking the advantage. Then Obi came to life and the rout was on. Greens Farms led 34-21 at halftime, and its defense came down hard in the second, holding St. Lukes to 14 points.
The team that contested pressure best would take this game, and there was no question [Greens Farms] did, Kriftcher said. Well be back at it. Its one game. We have to go 1-0 each game.
St. Lukes takes on Hopkins School (New Haven) at home on Monday at 4:30 p.m.
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