BRISTOL - The winter season may be coming to a close, but that doesnâ€™t mean the Bristol Central boys basketball team isnâ€™t still inside the gym putting in work.
The Rams just finished their regular season with a 16-4 record and have their eyes set on something much bigger - a deep state tournament run in Division II.
Bristol Central is currently sitting as the No. 3 seed out of 26 teams that have currently qualified for the tournament.
â€śObviously 16-4 is a great record, but we have bigger goals and aspirations,â€ť Bristol Central head coach Tim Barrette said. â€śWe got to work on Wednesday to get ready for Thursday night. [Mondayâ€™s] win sealed our home game so we will have a home game in the CCC tournament Thursday night. These guys deserve it. Weâ€™ll get ready for Thursday and prepare our best.â€ť
Right in front of the Rams in the standings is Wethersfield.
The Eagles recently defeated Bristol Central last Thursday, 65-59, in front of their home crowd. It ended a 14-game win streak for the Rams, yet served as a wake-up call as Bristol Central beat just two winning teams (Southington and Avon) and one .500 team (Hartford Public) during that stretch.
â€śWe hadnâ€™t experienced a loss so it left a bad taste in our mouths,â€ť senior forward Alex Bernier said. â€śWe knew we wanted to come out and come into this game hard. Down the stretch we did that.â€ť
The close loss demonstrated a Rams team that doesnâ€™t back down in any game, something that will serve them well in the state tournament.
Bristol Central trailed 21 points at the half before coming back to lose by six.
Spencer will be the key for the Rams on the floor.
The senior leader on the floor, Spencer has been dominant this season. He had 25 points in the loss.
While his performance must be on point, Bristol Central has other ways to attack its opponents. Bernier is starting to round into form after coming back from an injury.
â€śIâ€™m feeling comfortable,â€ť Bernier said. â€śI know that if I keep going in practice that Iâ€™ll get to 100 percent. Iâ€™m not 100 percent yet, but I expect to be 100 percent before the tournament. Thatâ€™s my goal.â€ť
Dathan Hickey can impact a game on both ends and is a defensive specialist. Noah Plantamuro, Isaiah Miller and Alex Lape all contribute as well for a deep Rams squad.
Bristol Central has the pieces to make the run and the Rams are far from done. Regardless of the spring feeling, itâ€™s still basketball season and Bristol Central will look to finish strong and end its seniorsâ€™ careers with a state title.
Dan Orencole can be reached atÂ 860-973-1811 orÂ firstname.lastname@example.org