BRISTOL - After the eighth lead change of the game, Bristol Central boys basketball senior guard Noah Plantamuro had enough.
Plantamuro took the game over, catching fire from 3-point range. He knocked down four from deep in the second half and sparked a 15-0 run en route to a 60-43 win for the Rams in the opening round game of the CCC Tournament Thursday night.
“His performance was big,” Bristol Central’s Dathan Hickey said. “Every game we tell him to keep shooting. He shoots to get hot and stays hot. He came up big tonight when we needed him.”
The Rams were tied as time was ticking down in the third quarter and called a timeout. Following it, Bristol Central went on the run that stretched into the fourth.
“We called timeout and executed out of the timeout,” Bristol Central head coach Tim Barrette said. “And then we hit another three and the next thing you know we’re up eight and you could see the momentum shift and it was starting to snowball for them.”
Plantamuro had nine of the 15 points in the run and finished with 15 points.
Jaekwon Spencer had a game-high 21 points for the Rams.
Defensively for Bristol Central, locking down Avon’s Jordan Williams was a focal point. Williams was shadowed by Hickey throughout the game and managed to score just 12 points. He faced tough shot opportunities with Hickey in his face.
“Dathan did a great job on Williams,” Barrette said. “He made open ones, but he also didn’t have many open ones. We got what we wanted. We couldn’t let Williams shoot the ball and get open looks. He’s their best outside threat and we took that away. Now other guys, if they make shots, they make shots. You can’t take away everything and we focused obviously tonight on taking Williams away.”
It was another slow start for Bristol Central, something that’s been a common trend for the team this year.
“It’s not intentional, needless to say,” Barrette said. “They’re not trying to start slow. It may be this team’s personality. After 21 games you have to ask yourself when you’re 17-4 if that’s this team’s personality. Obviously, that could come back to haunt us, but I’ll tell you what, I’d rather be a second-half team than a first-half team going through the postseason.”
Turning the ball over and allowing Avon to get to the foul line early was crucial for the Rams’ slow start.
The Falcons scored six points off and-one opportunities in the first quarter.
Avon, however, didn’t help its cause from the floor, as shot opportunities were there to build a lead but the Falcons couldn’t knock them down.
The Rams picked it up in the second quarter. Bristol Central started forcing turnovers on defense and capitalized on the offensive end of the floor. Second chance opportunities were also big, an advantage the Rams have on most teams with their size. It all led to a 9-0 run midway through the second to give them a five-point advantage.
“We’re a team of spurts,” Barrette said. “They did a good job slowing us down. We weren’t moving the ball. We were living and dying by the three-ball early. In the second half we hit threes, but we hit good threes.”
The Falcons kept it close for most of the third before Bristol Central took off.
With the win, the Rams move on to the second round and are far from finished.
“I plan on being a man of my word when I said this is going to be the best year that we’ve had,” Spencer said. “This is going to be my first year playing at Bulkeley for a playoff game, so we’ve already accomplished that and we don’t want to stop.”
Bristol Central may get to avenge its loss from early in the season to Middletown. The Rams could also play an unfamiliar opponent in Enfield on Saturday at Bulkeley High School. The game between the Eagles and Blue Dragons was moved to Friday, so Bristol Central will have to wait a day to see who its second-round opponent is.
“We haven’t played Middletown since the second game of the year,” Barrette said. “We’ve never played Enfield in probably the last 10 years. Either way, look for an up-tempo game Saturday morning or Saturday afternoon, whenever we play. We’ll come back to the drawing board tomorrow and get ready to go.”
Dan Orencole can be reached at or