Usually it's the coaches who preach defense, defense, defense.
Jaret Richardson, just one of Engineering and Sciences' true believers, gave a postgame lecture on the reason for the Engineers' success.
"I think we're one of the few teams in the Public League that actually plays defense," Richardson said. "Everybody else is just running up and down."
Thank goodness for that, because the way E&S shot the ball, it would not have come back to beat visiting Northeast, 43-33, as it did yesterday in top Division B action.
With each passing quarter, E&S (16-4, 10-1 league) raised its defensive intensity, forcing Northeast into a points-by-quarter slide that went 13, 8, 7 and 5. Still, the Vikings led, 33-32, at the 2-minute, 36-second mark of the fourth quarter.
Sean Evans' coast-to-coast drive had given Northeast (12-7, 7-4) the slim edge. But on the next possession, the 6-foot-7 senior missed the front end of a one-and-one - Evans' seventh miss among 11 attempts - and the Vikings did not score again.
E&S, meanwhile, went ahead, 34-33, when Theil Benn made good on an offensive rebound. Anthony Pough (12 points) added another deuce, and the Engineers took care of the rest at the line.
Richardson (13 points), a 5-10 senior, was the main culprit. He made both sets of bonus free throws despite missing his previous nine shots from the field.
"It got me a little down, because I started missing and they were rolling in and out," said Richardson, who made three of his first four three-point attempts. "But I just kept playing defense, and I know if I go to the line, it's good."
The Engineers never lost their poise, even as a boatload of shots - they shot 14 of 52 from the floor - missed their mark. It's easy to remain confident, though, when your lineup has bought the defense sermon that coach C.M. Brown and his 900-plus wins' worth of assistants/ex-Public League coaches, Rich Yankowitz (Dobbins) and Ken Hamilton (Ben Franklin), are selling.
In 11 games this season, E&S has held opponents to fewer than 40 points.
"Coach Hamilton thinks we're one of the two best defensive teams in the Pub," Brown said.
In a first half that wasn't winning any beauty pageant, Northeast played its own brand of tough 'D.' The Vikings limited E&S to just five second-quarter points and took a 21-17 lead into intermission.
But the Engineers, playing their full-court press zone, caused 18 turnovers and squelched Evans every time he had the ball in the second half. A Division I prospect in both basketball and football, Evans finished with 12 points, almost half his average, before fouling out with less than a minute to play.
Richardson and senior Sandy Tanner - his backcourt cohort since the fifth grade - kept the Engineers' turnovers to a minimum (10). Together they had seven steals.
"That's what we do. We play defense," said Richardson, who is drawing offers from Division II schools. "We can have an off night on offense, but we can never have an off night on defense."
Northeast13 8 7 5 - 33
Engineering and Science12 5 10 16 - 43
N: Sean Evans 12, Jordan Green 9, Tyron Lytes 6, Nick McIntosh 6.
ES: Jaret Richardson 13, Darrell Mills 3, Anthony Pough 12, Sandy Tanner 7, Theil Benn 6, Marcus Brown 2.