PLAINVILLE - Monday night's loss for Plainville boys basketball wasn't pretty, and with still a lot of season left there's still plenty to work on for them Blue Devils as it enters the new year under .500.
Whether the 64-40 loss is a learning tool or setback is the question for Plainville's head coach Scot Wenzel. Wenzel, who was a successful coach for Newington across six seasons (226-169 with the Nor'easters), knows how to go about business when a team needs to shape up in order to put the best product on the floor.
"If you're tough about it, it should be a learning tool. Unfortunately, if you're not tough about it, then it's going to be a setback and you're going to be making the same mistakes again," said Wenzel. "You've got to learn from it and we've got to get better. ... We're making mental mistakes that we shouldn't be making at this point."
It was a problem from the start as Plainville trailed early, unable to break the score even as a streaking Terryville exploited the defense in transition and under the basket.
Terryville's Dominick Dao was a force, and was remarked as one of the best players the Blue Devils will see all season by Wenzel. His thoughts on his team's defense were short, but to the point.
"They got to the rim very easily on us. Very disappointed in the defense and letting them get to the rim as much as they did," Wenzel said.
While Plainville was chasing the leader all night, there were moments where the team saw what it's capable of. With a pressing defense, a 12-0 run in the third quarter that brought the score to 45-28, Terryville still leading. The run was Plainville's most successful string of scoring in succession in the game.
Wenzel attributed the flash as something Plainville needs to learn to stretch across all four quarters as they learn how the speed and ebbs and flows of varsity basketball works in Connecticut.
"It shows that we've got to have that type of intensity the entire game. We're still trying to figure that out," said Wenzel. "A lot of guys that weren't on this level last year are trying to figure out what the game speed is at the varsity level. If you're not playing at that top speed, bad things are going to happen and we saw that early on."
Part of the process is not entirely Wenzel's fault, though. With a lost season, once raw and developing underclassmen in the junior varsity levels are now being pushed into the varsity level with unpolished tools and skill sets. The issue is state-wide, and is something all teams are adjusting to as the season progresses.
Wenzel said they'll be OK, as long as the work continues to be put in to get better every day.
"They're trying to figure out what varsity athletics is all about. They're realizing the things they can get away with at the JV level you can't get away with up here," said Wenzel. "It comes down to continuing to work and being disciplined with what we're doing out on the floor."