BRISTOL - Seeking its first win of the season, the Bristol Central girls basketball team entered the fourth quarter down big to Maloney, trailing by 17 points.
Rams junior guard Allison Jessie got Bristol Central off to a strong start in the fourth knocking down a pair of 3-pointers.
Jessie, along with fellow junior Ashley Watson, did their best to try and complete a comeback win for the Rams but the effort fell short in the 36-30 loss to the Spartans Tuesday night.
Watson had five points in the fourth while Jessie led Bristol Central in scoring with 14 points, nine coming in the final frame.
“Once I started making those shots our team started picking up energy,” Jessie said. “We had to keep at it and we could get somewhere eventually. But we ran out of time.”
Right from the opening tip, Maloney set the tempo.
The Spartans’ Dasia White started the scoring with a bucket in the paint in front of Bristol Central’s Xia’ian Carrasco. Following it, Maloney’s Melanie Polanco had a steal and a layup to put her team up 4-0.
The Spartans implemented full-court pressure on the Rams in the first. With it, eight of the 13 first-quarter points for Maloney were off Bristol Central turnovers as the Rams struggled to get the ball up the floor.
“It wasn’t their pressure,” Bristol Central head coach Steve Gaudet said. “It was our inability to execute. We made some poor decisions. We had an easy opportunity to break their press. But we were throwing balls away or dropping balls. So it was a lack of composure and a lack of execution.”
Bristol Central scored two points in the quarter coming from Watson, who had a basket in the paint.
Going into the second quarter, Bristol Central was looking to generate any kind of momentum down 13-2.
The defense came to play, forcing Maloney into difficult off balance shots and the Spartans were held scoreless in the first few minutes into the quarter. However, the Rams couldn’t get any offense going even though they had opportunities at the free throw line to do so.
In the second quarter Bristol Central went 2-for-8 from the free throw line.
“We lost by six but we went 8-for-17 from the free throw line,” Gaudet said. “You’re not going to win too many games when you miss that many and turn the ball over as much as we did.”
A 3-pointer from Macdonald sparked a 4-0 run for the Rams and Bristol Central outscored the Spartans 5-4 in the quarter to close out the half down 17-7.
Bristol Central inbounded the ball to begin the third quarter and Jessie knocked down a basket in the paint to bring the Rams within single digits at 17-9.
With it Bristol Central had scored six consecutive points a 6-0 but the Rams quickly gave the six points back as the Spartans scored six in just over a minute of play to extend their lead to 23-9.
Sarah Guerin snapped Maloney’s scoring run to cut the lead to 23-11.
Though, the Spartans controlled the remainder of the third and Polanco delivered a basket in the final seconds to put her team up 27-13.
Polanco started off the fourth with a 3-pointer to go up 30-13.
Minutes later, Jessie would answer for the Rams with a 3 to bring the score to 30-16 forcing a timeout by Maloney head coach John Vieira.
Whatever was said during the timeout didn’t stop Jessie as she knocked down another 3-pointer to bring Bristol Central within 11 points down 30-19.
Jessie’s scoring sparked the Rams as Bristol Central went onto outscore the Spartans 17-9 in the final quarter but the slow start and Polanco’s 21 points were too much to overcome in the end.
With the loss the Rams fell to 0-11 on the year and Maloney improved to 5-7.
Bristol Central will travel to take on Bristol Eastern at the Lancers’ gym Thursday night at 6:45 p.m.
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org