Lancers avenge loss to Rams from earlier in season, qualify for state tournament

Published on Monday, 14 February 2022 22:20
Written by MATT HORNICK

@MNHornick

BRISTOL ― Revenge and a state tournament berth are not a bad start to the week for Bristol Eastern girls basketball.

The Lancers earned their eighth win of the season while avenging their loss to Bristol Central from Jan. 22 with a 63-51 defeat of the Rams at Eastern on Monday night. Eastern turned a five-point halftime lead into an 18-point advantage after the third quarter as senior Ciara Collins awoke from a quiet first half to lead all scorers with 24.

Junior Taigan Parent and senior Janessa Gonzalez supplemented Collins' effort with 16 and 11 points, respectively. Parent hit three three-pointers and was the leading scorer at halftime while Gonzalez posted a double-double and grabbed eight offensive rebounds.

“We definitely weren’t expecting them to come at us that hard the first time so we took them too lightly,” Collins said. “They’ve gotten much better, they’ve really improved their game and they came out with a good strategy. They played harder than us and out-worked us the first time and I think we realized we weren’t going to let them do that to us again.”

Playing its fifth game in six days, Central’s endurance was tested against a fast-paced Eastern team. While competing with the Lancers for much of the matchup, it failed to match their third-quarter scoring.

The Rams refused to back down late, as sophomore Brooke Watson kept the score close with a late scoring surge. She finished with 20 points while fellow sophomore Arianna Rivera recorded 15.

“This is our fifth game in six days and we ran out of a little gas,” Central head coach Steve Gaudet said. “We just made some mental mistakes. Maybe [there is] some mental fatigue, we made some bad decisions.”

The Rams’ defense was dedicated to stopping Ciara Collins from scoring and succeeded for the entire first quarter, but unlike previous contests, the Lancers found consistent offense from the rest of their lineup. Collins entered halftime with six points, but did not score her first field goal until the final minute of the half and it required a complete lapse from Central’s defense to leave her open under the basket.

Junior Taigan Parent found a rhythm from the field and led all scorers at the midway point with 10 points behind a pair of three-pointers.

“She played amazing,” Collins said. “We knew she had that outside shot, just the fact that she was wide open taking them [helped]. They left our guards wide open thinking that they weren’t going to shoot, but obviously Emma and Taigan can shoot. Clearly Taigan showed it tonight, she played awesome.”

Central did the majority of its first-half scoring without one of its primary options as senior Lillian Sirois, who willed the Rams to victory with 25 points Jan. 22, posted two points in the first 16 minutes. Central’s offense came from a variety of sources as it trailed by five points at halftime with Arianna Rivera and Watson each contributing six.

Collins’ dry spell subsided in the second half and she anchored a 23-point third quarter for Eastern that stretched its lead to 18 points. She knocked down her first two threes of the game and started getting to the basket as the Lancers’ offense became more difficult to stop once its best player came alive.

Collins scored 18 points in the second half, 13 of which came in the third quarter, as Eastern used its run after halftime to get in front and keep the Rams to a 10-point average over the first three periods.

“They executed and they took advantage of the shots that they had,” Eastern head coach Tony Floyd said. “They were more patient this time and a lot of kids knew what their role was out there.”

Watson drilled four triples in the fourth quarter and erupted for 14 points as Central tried to charge back from nearly 20 points down. The Rams cut the deficit in half, but never got closer than nine points as the Lancers knocked down a pair of threes, made seven out of eight free throws and controlled the backboards.

Eastern will finish its regular season Tuesday at 5:30 at home against Watertown while the Rams will host Hartford Public on Wednesday in pursuit of their first 10-win season since 2015.

Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or mhornick@bristolpress.com

BRISTOL EASTERN 63, BRISTOL CENTRAL 51

At Bristol Eastern

Bristol Eastern 14 11 23 15 - 63

Bristol Central 9 11 10 21 - 51

BRISTOL EASTERN: Ciara Collins 7-7-24, Leah Roy 0-2-2, Taigan Parent 5-3-16, Janessa Gonzalez 3-5-11, Vanessa Drury 2-0-5, Emma Stavens 2-0-5. Totals 19-17-63.

BRISTOL CENTRAL: Brooke Watson 7-2-20, Lillian Sirois 3-0-6, Arianna Rivera 7-1-15, Callie Lodovico 3-0-6, Ella Watson 1-0-2, Kaley Laird 1-0-2. Totals 22-3-51.

Three-point goals: Parent (BE) 3, Lodovico (BC), Collins (BE) 3, Stavens (BE), B. Watson (BC) 4, Drury (BE).

Records: Bristol Eastern 8-10, Bristol Central 9-10.



Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol Central, Bristol Eastern on Monday, 14 February 2022 22:20. Updated: Monday, 14 February 2022 22:22.