BRISTOL - The basket was wide open for the Bristol Eastern girls basketball team Thursday night in its win over Lewis Mills.
Four players reached double-digits scoring in the matchup, highlighted by 24 points from Jordan Ouellette.
Ciara Collins (18), Sage Scarritt (12) and Avery Arbuckle (11) all saw bountiful scoring nights as well, as the Lancers defeated the Spartans 76-43.
Celebrating senior night, head coach Tony Floyd started seniors Jessica Levesque, Vanda Horvath and Emiah Miller along with regular starters Jordan Ouellette and Avery Arbuckle.
“They all had butterflies in their stomach because three of them never started since they’ve been here,” Floyd said. “I thought they did a great job when they went out there and they played pretty tough for about four minutes in the beginning of the game.”
The senior-only lineup played the first four minutes of the contest before normal starters Ciara Collins, Cali Doyon and Sage Scarritt and the Lancers’ offense took off.
Tied 5-5 before the substitution, Eastern rifled off three quick scores to ignite a 13-4 run for the remainder of the quarter.
Arbuckle led the way with seven points in the opening frame, including a three-pointer from the top of the key, while Ouellette and Collins each added four.
The Lancers built their lead to 15 points by halftime, highlighted by six points from Collins, who received many scoring opportunities on fast breaks that started with easily forced turnovers.
Their defense was anchored by the full court press that caused the Spartans to speed up and play erratically.
Eastern displayed strong passing and found open space within Lewis Mills’ defense, but Floyd was not happy with his team as it went to the locker room.
“We didn’t dictate the tempo of the game,” Floyd said. “We didn’t play well defensively, we didn’t execute, and I think that was the biggest thing. I tried to tell them we need to be consistent defensively and we have to be consistent in executing the X’s and O’s. I thought we didn’t execute very well, we didn’t get in transition.
Floyd’s midway message clearly caused a change in his players as they started the third quarter on a 14-3 run and held Lewis Mills scoreless for the first four and a half minutes of the period.
Ouellette came alive offensively after halftime with 14 points created by smartly-designed plays that made her completely open under the basket off backdoor cuts. She found the bucket from all over the court, additionally adding scores from mid-range and the free throw line.
The Lancers continued to score quickly and efficiently early in the fourth quarter, with Collins nailing three quick buckets early in the period.
Floyd then returned to his all-senior lineup, which saw Jessica Leveque nearly convert an and-one, before giving captains Arbuckle and Ouellette their rightfully-deserved curtain calls.
The Lancers will look to double down on wins over Bristol Central in their next game as they will face their city rival on the road Monday.
Matt Hornick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org