BRISTOL - Without starting forward Meredith Foreman, due to an injury she suffered against Wethersfield, two Bristol Eastern underclassmen were tasked with guarding Farmington’s star forward Izzy Lipinski in Tuesday’s girls basketball game: freshman Sage Scarritt and sophomore Avery Arbuckle.
The combo forced some off-balance shots from Lipinski, but she still had her way with a double-double and a game-high 18 points.
Her performance was the difference as Bristol Eastern lost 48-46 to the Indians, and the loss of Foreman hurt.
“[Foreman] played [Lipinski] before in a scrimmage game and she played her pretty tough,” Lancers head coach Anthony Floyd said. “It would’ve gave us more fouls and we could’ve worked on her a little bit more. She got tired at the end of the game, but I think we could have made her get more tired with [Meredith].”
While Lipinski’s performance was the reason Bristol Eastern fell just short, the backcourt play of senior guards Hannah Maghini and Miranda Janick and junior guard Paige McLaughlin was the reason the Lancers almost pulled out the win.
“It’s nice when you have those ball handlers out there,” Floyd said. “And even Jordan [Ouellette] is really a guard, too. We make it tough because we have four or five good ball handlers out there for other teams to focus on.”
The three combined for 34 of Bristol Eastern’s 46 points. The sophomore Ouellette added eight points as well.
Maghini, Janick and McLaughlin were a perfect 8-for-8 at the free throw line in the game and 4-for-4 in the fourth.
Janick led the way in the first half with 13 of the 21 points.
In the second half and specifically in the fourth quarter, Maghini and McLaughlin took over.
Maghini pulled up from deep to knock down a three, giving Bristol Eastern a 40-38 lead.
The Indians then went on a 5-0 run to take a 43-40 lead.
With the ball in her hands and 1:41 remaining in the fourth quarter, McLaughlin drew a shooting foul on Lipinski, getting to the line for a pair of shots.
McLaughlin knocked in both to pull the Lancers to within one.
Then Farmington extended its lead on a three by Carolyn Ives.
Maghini went on to score the next four points, a pair of free throws and a layup to tie it at 46-46, before the Indians’ Chardac Saunders hit the game-winner.
All seven of Maghini’s points were in the final frame and she led the way in the comeback attempt.
“Hannah’s been doing a great job,” Floyd said. “The kid has great composure out there. And when we need the big shot she makes it. It could be a three or a layup. She’s learned to use her players and she’s becoming an excellent playmaker. She knows her players’ strengths and she’s getting them the ball in areas where they can be successful on the court.”
The composure down the stretch showed a lot of fight in the Lancers group.
Bristol Eastern’s production from its backcourt against Farmington could prove to be lethal down the road as the season progresses.
“I’m very pleased with this team and the progress,” Floyd said. “They’ve got a very competitive schedule this year, but every game is a game. As long as you improve every single game and get better I’m very happy about our progress.
“We’re going to get better and start winning some of these close games. With the schedule, there are going to be a lot of close games and we’re going to have to execute and keep our composure.”
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org