BRISTOL - It was just weeks ago a loss to Wethersfield fueled the Bristol Central boys basketball team to go on a run in the CCC tournament.
The Rams did just that, making it to the semifinals before running into the No. 1 team in the state, East Catholic.
While Bristol Central lost by 34 points to the Eagles, it played much better than the score would indicate and that could be the spark the Rams need, knowing they can be competitive against the best opponents.
“We’re not going to play a better team than them. They’re No. 1 in the state for a reason,” Bristol Central senior Dathan Hickey said. “But the score on the scoreboard doesn’t show how we played [Tuesday]. We played one of our better games I think. We played a full game. In the Division II tournament I know we won’t play a better team than them.”
Now, the Rams are looking to use the loss as an incentive to make a deep run in the Division II tournament.
“This loss definitely fuels us,” Bristol Central’s Alex Lape said. “One of the things we pride ourselves on is letting things fuel us to go further. I think that’ll show when we start the [state] tournament.”
For a team that won 16 games in the regular season, Bristol Central is undoubtedly a talented group.
The Rams willingness to take a loss and use it to their advantage is something not every team brings to the table.
“It’s going to pump us up,” Hickey said. “The Wethersfield loss pumped us up for this tournament and this is going to bring us to new heights. I believe we’re going to come in strong in the Division II tournament and I think teams are going to look at us as the team to beat.”
In Division II, Simsbury leads the way with 18 wins. Behind the Trojans are eight teams with 16 or 15 wins in a balanced field at the top. It’s anybody’s tournament to be had.
“There’s no team we can’t compete with,” Hickey said. “I truly believe that. We’re going to get back to practice and get ready for whoever we have in the tournament.”
The Rams just faced their best opponent all season and will now move on knowing that they can play with anybody, especially any team in the upcoming tournament.
“I told them going into the fourth quarter that we’re not going to play against a better team in the entire state,” Bristol Central head coach Tim Barrette said. “You’re not going to see a team in Division II that’s this good.”
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or email@example.com