BRISTOL - With the home crowd behind it, the Bristol Central boys basketball team put up a valiant effort.
The Rams entered the final quarter down nine points but went on a 17-0 run in the fourth quarter to take the lead for the first time since the first quarter. Bristol Central led by as many as four points but Wilton’s Antonio Brancato resurfaced scoring clutch points down the stretch and Bristol Central fell in the second round of the Division II tournament 63-56 Friday night.
“I told these guys they’re one of the winningest groups to ever come to Bristol Central in terms of a four-year period,” Rams head coach Tim Barrette said. “18-6 is not too shabby, let me just say that. But you know what’s great about the group in there? 18-6 isn’t good enough for them. They’re sitting in there up right now upset because 18-6 wasn’t good enough. Most teams would be happy at 18-6, this group wasn’t. That’s what I’ll remember this group for, they weren’t satisfied being 18-6. They really wanted to make a run but tonight we didn’t execute the way we wanted to.”
Brancato finished with 28 points. His teammate Scott Cunningham added 22 points.
It was from what Bristol Central would have hoped in the first half after the extended wait time leading up to the game with just under two weeks without game action. The Rams scored a meager 15 points, just three coming from star player Jaekwon Spencer.
Ball movement was an issue for Bristol Central against the 3-2 zone defense Wilton was playing.
The Rams had issues turning the ball over and defensively gave up 15 first half points to Brancato.
With 16 minutes to play, the Rams turned the page.
Bristol Central scored 41 second-half points and got a strong contribution from senior point guard Isaiah Miller, who hit four 3-pointers in the final half of play.
Miller finished with 15 points all on 3-pointers and fouled out in the final minute of play. Spencer finished with a game-high 29 points, 26 came in the second half.