BRISTOL - The Bristol Eastern girls basketball team scored the first 20 points of its game against Plainville on Wednesday and it was basically over from there.
Led by a smothering full-court press on defense and steady buckets from junior Ciara Collins and senior Alyssa Kehler, the Lancers cruised to its third win of the season and took down the only other 2-0 team in CCC Region B, 77-33.
Collins led all scorers with 25 points for the game and Kehler followed with 14, both scoring more points than the Blue Devils scored in any quarter. Seniors Cali Doyon and Sage Scarritt also eclipsed double-digits for the game with 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Plainville senior Jaida Vasquez bounced back from a slow start to finish the contest with 11 points to lead her team, but Eastern’s dominance in all phases of the game prevented the Blue Devils from finding very much success.
“The biggest thing we were trying to do and it showed up today was to get in transition,” Eastern head coach Tony Floyd said. “We did a really great job hitting the boards, controlling the boards. They’re scrappy and we knew if we don’t control the boards then we can’t run. We were able to control the boards and get in transition today, and fill lanes and really executed and shared the ball really well.”
Collins and Kehler combined for 14 points on the team’s opening 20-0 run, which was ended by senior Kori Jones on a tough layup. Collins answered right back for the Lancers with her first of four three-pointers in the game, but Plainville was able to gather four more points before the end of the first quarter.
“Defensively, we need to talk more,” Vasquez said. “Offensively, we just need to move as a team. We need to make space. We’re just too clogged up, close together.”
Eastern implemented a full-court trap that seriously disrupted Plainville’s ability to get the ball up the court and resulted in plenty of easy scores for the Lancers. The Blue Devils were constantly sped up by their opponents’ stifling defense, which caused them to be more careless with the ball and make bad decisions.
“We struggled with their length,” Plainville head coach Jessica Neuweiler said. “We struggled with their aggressiveness in the beginning. Just being able to get the ball up the floor, that set the tone really early for us, unfortunately.”
Vasquez scored her team’s only three points of the second quarter as the Lancers more than doubled their lead before halftime. Collins had 10 points in the second period including a pair of triples as Eastern’s offense continued to flourish, while Plainville continued to fizzle.
“I think we’re really doing well on pushing the ball,” Kehler said. “We’re getting a lot of easy shots and we’re looking for the easiest shots, we’re not forcing anything.”
The game didn’t appear any closer after halftime because of how lopsided the scoreboard looked, but the Blue Devils were only outscored by eight in the second half. Vasquez and fellow senior Tessa Susco each knocked down long-range shots to finish the quarter with five points.
“At halftime my message was, especially being down what we were, is how are we going to respond, how are we going to come back in the second half and make it a respectable game for us,” Neuweiler said. “I was happy with how they responded. We’re better than how we played tonight. It’s one night and we have to bounce back from this and get ready to go for Friday.”
This improvement did not find its way to the defensive end for Plainville as the Lancers’ offense continued to find the basket at will. They led by more than 40 with one quarter left.
Eastern ran a tight rotation of just seven players for the majority of the game even after growing their lead out of reach. Floyd usually reaches one deeper on his bench, but was without junior Janessa Gonzalez due to the covid protocol and said she should be back later this week.
The Lancers next game is on the road against Southington on Saturday at 1 p.m., while the Blue Devils will return to Bristol on Friday to face Bristol Central at 5:30 p.m.
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org
BRISTOL EASTERN 77, PLAINVILLE 33
At Bristol Eastern
Plainville 6 3 13 11 - 33
Bristol Eastern 23 22 18 14 - 77
PLAINVILLE: Jaida Vasquez 3-4-11, Kori Jones 2-0-4, Tessa Susco 3-0-7, Lilly Wazorko 0-2-2, Kaitlyn Gagnon 2-0-4, Samantha Thompson 1-0-3, Alida Passaretti 1-0-2. Totals 12-6-33.
BRISTOL EASTERN: Ciara Collins 7-7-25, Cali Doyon 5-2-13, Alyssa Kehler 7-0-14, Sage Scarritt 5-0-10, Taigan Parent 4-0-8, Emma Stavens 1-2-4, Emily Piendak 1-1-3. Totals 30-12-77.
Three-point goals: Collins (BE) 4, Susco (P), Vasquez (P), Doyon (BE), Thompson (P).
Records: Plainville 2-1, Bristol Eastern 3-0.