BRISTOL - The rivalry between Bristol Eastern and Bristol Central always generates exciting games on the basketball court and the game at Bristol Eastern normally has a magnetic energy from students filling the small gym.
Friday night’s boys matchup between the Rams and Lancers only featured Eastern parents in attendance, creating a quieter environment, but the game remained meaningful as the Rams picked up a 66-51 win to start their season 2-0. Eastern suffered its first loss of the year and falls to 1-1 in their first week of play.
Bristol Central junior Donovan Clingan set up shop under the basket, and followed up his 35 points to start the season Wednesday night against Avon with 37 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks against Eastern, nearly outscoring the entire opposing team. With no one nearing Clingan’s size, guarding him was a tremendous challenge for the Lancers that could be overcome.
“It makes it real hard to double [team] when he’s on the block, especially the way they were trying to play us,’ Central head coach Tim Barrette said. “Carson Rivoira did a great job in the middle tonight, he’s a triple threat. He can score, he passes well and flashes hard to the ball. He was our x-factor tonight.”
The Rams built their lead in the second quarter, outscoring the Lancers 16-4 led by eight points from Clingan on four dunks. The Lancers had a hard time containing the seven-foot-two junior who required so much attention from Eastern’s defense that other players were often open. Eastern’s shots were also not falling despite creating solid attempts and Parent finished the quarter with the team’s only four points.
“We just didn’t make shots, we had good looks, we just didn’t make them,” Eastern head coach Bunty Ray said. “That happened to us the other night. The difference is we were able to withstand it with some pressure. At the end of the day, you have to score with them because they’re always going to get an easy basket. They’re not going to go four possessions without at least getting two [points] somewhere. They can just throw it into the big man or an offensive rebound, any mistake they make is going to get cleaned up for two so you have to be able to make your shots on the perimeter.”
Both offenses were clicking in the first quarter as Clingan started the game with nine early points. The Rams’ ball movement created a variety of easy looks near the basket, with many buckets coming off of assists. Eastern hung tight as Dylan Woodsome posted his team’s first five points including a three-pointer in transition. Parent knocked down his first triple in the opening period as part of his seven first-quarter points.
“I thought we came out, did a good job, we were getting good shots in our offense,” Parent said. “Towards the end, we stopped, we weren’t running, I don’t think we were as focused as we were in the first half. We weren’t getting the same shots, I think they adjusted a little bit on defense, but we didn’t come out with the same intensity.”
Eastern found its stride again in the second half but couldn’t slow down the Rams nearly enough to come within 10 points. Trinio Otero scored all nine of his points in the third quarter and made all four of his free throws. Otero created quality opportunities throughout the game, but could make anything outside of this hot streak.
“We got away from what we wanted to do in the second half,” Ray said. “I don’t know if it’s [still] early season and we’re just not crisp yet, but we were talking about doing some things, we just weren’t in the offense the way we wanted to [be]. I thought we were pretty steady in the beginning, but we got too one-dimensional and Central kind of makes you one-dimensional because it’s hard to get inside.”
The Rams will return to the court Feb. 16 for a home game against Southington while the Lancers’ next game is on the road against Plainville the same day.
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org
BRISTOL CENTRAL 66, BRISTOL EASTERN 51
At Bristol Eastern
Bristol Central 17 16 14 19 - 66
Bristol Eastern 14 4 17 16 - 51
BRISTOL CENTRAL: Donovan Clingan 17-3-37, Damion Glasper 2-0-6, Sean Wininger 4-1-9, Tre Jones 1-0-2, Carson Rivoira 3-2-8 Roberto Negron-Cruz 0-2-2, Elijah Rodriguez 1-0-2. Totals 28-8-66.
BRISTOL EASTERN: Elijah Parent 8-0-18, Trini Otero 2-4-9, Josh Kolano 2-2-7, Ty Donahue 1-0-2, Jack Stavens 2-0-5, Nasir Walker-Jenkins 0-1-1, Dylan Woodsome 2-0-5, Trevor Nohilly 1-1-4. Totals 18-8-51.
Three-point goals: Woodsome (BE), Parent (BE) 2, Glasper (BC) 2, Kolano (BE), Stavens (BE), Nohilly (BE).
Records: Bristol Central 2-0, Bristol Eastern 1-1.