BRISTOL â€• A 25-point fourth quarter propelled Bristol Eastern girls basketball to victory Tuesday night against Berlin.Â
The Lancers erased an 11-point deficit and scored more than half their points for the game in the final period to secure their fourth win of the season and second over the Redcoats, who they also defeated 43-42 on Jan. 4.Â
The loss ended Berlinâ€™s two-game winning streak and brought the team back down to .500 at the midway point of its season. The Redcoats will look to bounce back Thursday when they host E.O. Smith (9-3) in another challenging matchup, while Eastern will host Glastonbury (7-4) on the same date and time.Â
Eastern seniors Ciara Collins and Janessa Gonzalez combined for 19 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Lancersâ€™ comeback. Collins led all scorers with 20 points despite making one field goal in each of the first three quarters while Gonzalez finished with 11.Â
â€śI thought the kids really picked it up in the second half,â€ť Eastern head coach Tony Floyd said. â€śWe came out and played some good defense [starting] probably around the end of the second quarter. We started to have flashes in the third quarter and then in the fourth quarter we picked up the tempo and the pressure.â€ť
The Lancers took their first lead of the game with 29.5 seconds left when senior Ciara Collins finished a floater in the lane. A missed free throw from Berlin gave the ball back to Eastern with the lead and Collins made her next four foul shots to close the game.Â
â€śI think we just realized what we needed to do in order to win,â€ť Collins said. â€śWe werenâ€™t getting our own rebounds, so we decided we needed to step it up if we were going to win. Especially in a game like that when itâ€™s tough and people are coming at us. Itâ€™s a league game and we need it to be a contender to win the league and we knew we needed to step it up in the second half, so thatâ€™s what we did.â€ť
Trailing by 11 to start the fourth quarter, Eastern steadily cut into Berlinâ€™s deficit to make it a two-point game entering the final minute. Junior Taigan Parent tied the game for the Lancers on the next possession with a baseline jumper before senior Rylee Cop put Berlin back in front with a free throw.Â
â€śI thought my kids executed the game plan we had very well,â€ť Berlin head coach Sheila King said. â€śThey worked very hard and got things done. Some things fell out of our control and unfortunately it didnâ€™t go our way.â€ť
An off-balance layup from senior Ciara Collins represented all of the Lancers points in the first quarter as both offenses struggled to score early. The Redcoats had slightly more success with the ball and finished the opening period with eight points, but defense dominated early and made points hard to come by.Â
Berlin quickly proved capable of breaking Easternâ€™s full-court press, often finding players open in the frontcourt. However, a layup from senior Clare McGeever was the only basket to come from it as the Lancers recovered well and forced difficult half-court shots.
The Redcoatsâ€™ scoring started picking up in the second quarter while their defense continued to interfere with Easternâ€™s scoring. They put heavy pressure on the Lancersâ€™ in-bound passes, which made it difficult for Eastern to move the ball upcourt.Â
â€śCollins is such a great player and Clare McGeever stepped up and took the challenge of taking on her,â€ť King said. â€śShe did a tremendous job shutting her down in the first half.â€ť
Berlin also drew several fouls in the period and spent plenty of time at the free throw line. Junior Jenna Wenzel netted five free throws and entered halftime as the Redcoats leading scorer with seven points. The free throws helped give life to Berlinâ€™s scoring attack as more shots started falling as halftime approached.Â
Collins was the only player to score for the Lancers until late into the first half when sophomore Lauren Ayotte finished a layup. Junior Taigan Parent added her first basket of the day later in the period as Eastern continued to need a second scorer to take some attention away from Collins.Â
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or email@example.com
BRISTOL EASTERN 43, BERLIN 40
At Bristol Eastern
Bristol EasternÂ 2 Â 9Â 7Â 25 â€• 43
Berlin Â 8 12Â 9Â 11 â€• 40
BRISTOL EASTERN: Ciara Collins 5-9-20, Taigan Parent 4-0-8, Janessa Gonzalez 4-2-11, Lauren Ayotte 2-0-4. Totals 15-11-43.
BERLIN: Kailee DeMaio 3-0-6, Emma Ellison 2-2-6, Clare McGeever 1-0-2, Jenna Wenzel 3-8-14, Alivia Halkias 0-4-4, Rylee Cop 2-1-6, Janessa Yaconiello 1-0-2. Totals 12-15-40.
Three-point goals: Collins (BE), Cop (B), Gonzalez (BE).
Records: Bristol Eastern 4-5, Berlin 5-5