BRISTOL - In March, every basketball program in the state does everything in its power to move on to the next round. Though, certain teams get a home-court advantage in the early rounds as a reward for putting together a stellar 20-game campaign during the regular season.
For the Bristol Central boys basketball team, that’s the case as the Rams will host the second round game of the Division II tournament against Wilton tonight at 7 p.m. If they advance, they will also play host in the quarterfinal round.
The defensive performance for Bristol Central in its home gym this season is reason for high expectations against the Warriors and in the next round should the Rams advance.
Specifically, the Rams have thrived in terms of point differential.
Bristol Central averages the same point total offensively at home and on the road with 59 points per game.
It’s a different story on the other end of the floor.
The Rams give up just 48 points per game at home this season, an 11-point difference factoring in their offensive output.
“Playing at home is a major advantage in the state tournament,” Bristol Central head coach Tim Barrette said. “I’m hoping our fan section comes out and supports us. I think playing at home should be at least a five-point advantage.”
That defensive intensity will need to remain against the Warriors, a team that can catch fire from long range at any time and one that attempts an abundance of long-range shots over the course of games.
“They shoot the ball really well and average over 25 three-point attempts per game,” Barrette said. “They move the ball really well also. I wouldn’t say they live or die by the three but it’s a major part of their offense. They do a really good job at the dribble, drive and kick game.”
Having the city of Bristol pack the gym is something Barrette is looking for as Bristol Central begins its postseason path. A loud crowd is always an added dimension.
“I’m hoping the city of Bristol comes out and supports us,” Barrette said. Obviously we have multiple schools in the city. I hope the city rallies around the two city teams left in the state tournament with us and St. Paul.”
With the home floor advantage to begin the tournament and the defensive production that comes with it in their gym, the Rams season seems far from over and the goals they set coming into it are still well within reach.
“Obviously we’ve had a good season, but we have bigger and loftier goals,” Barrette said. “Thursday night is a chance to take the next step toward our goal. Winning the next game in front of us is how we approach every game. That’s all you can look forward to in the state tournament. I don’t have many [primary] basketball players but I have competitors. In a win or go home situation I like my odds.”