BRISTOL - Facing consistent pressure throughout the game, the Bristol Central girls basketball team struggled with it mightily throughout the first three quarters, being outscored 51-15 at the end of three periods.
A different team showed up in the fourth quarter as the Rams outscored the Blue Dragons 19-8 in the final frame.
By then the 36-point deficit had already put the game out reach, as Bristol Central fell to Middletown 59-34 on Tuesday evening.
“It’s definitely a pressure thing,” senior forward Xia’ian Carrasco said. “We know what we’re doing, but when they start to pressure us and they’re in our faces we kind of crumble and we don’t know what to do, which makes us play frantic. But once we control that, then things are a lot smoother from there on.”
In the fourth quarter, Ashley Watson, Zoe Sinclair and Xia’ian Carrasco combined for 12 of the Rams’ 19 points. Each scored four points in the final frame.
Watson started it out with a pair of baskets and as a team Bristol Central was more aggressive attacking the rim off the dribble.
“I think we started to play with a lot more confidence towards the end of the game,” junior guard Watson said. “And we started seeing the ball go through the hoop more. Once we got more confidence, we started to run more.”
Carrasco had five of her six points in the fourth and had an impressive three-point play.
Throughout the night Carrasco had opportunities to score in the paint with her size advantage. Getting her the ball was an emphasis of the Rams coming into the game, but something that didn’t surface until the final quarter.
“We emphasized that all week and we’re going to continue to emphasize that,” Bristol Central head coach Steve Gaudet said. “We need to get the ball inside. We need to work inside out and get some baskets early. And then when they collapse, we have to work the ball for some outside shots. Tonight we didn’t do that until the end.”
On a night where hustle was lacking throughout, the Rams received a strong effort from one player in particular.
“I was really happy with I’deara Gordon,” Gaudet said. “Her numbers may not show up in the box score. But she took a charge, dove on the floor a couple times and she just works hard. She may not be the most athletic, but she gives me everything she’s got and that’s all I’m asking for.”
Middletown was dominant in the first three quarters.
In the first quarter, the Blue Dragons got off to a 15-3 start led by Amanda Fudge, who scored six of the 19 Middletown points in the opening frame.
Dominique Highsmith and Kya Mayo dominated the second quarter for the Blue Dragons.
The combo had all of the Middletown points in the quarter.
Bristol Central let down big in the third quarter, getting outscored 21-5.
Six different players scored in the frame for the Blue Dragons and Middletown knocked down a trio of three-point baskets, two coming from Silvana Barcomb.
Highsmith (13 points), Barcomb (11 points) and Mayo (10 points) led the way for Middletown.
Watson led Bristol Central with 11 points. Gordon was second with six points. Carrasco and Sarah Guerin chipped in five points for the Rams.
Dan Orencole can be reached at or email@example.com