PLAINVILLE - The Plainville boys basketball team faced off with Haddam-Killingworth in the first consolation game of the Rybczyk Memorial Tournament and it went about the same as its previous four games this season.
The Blue Devils kept it reasonably close, for the most part throughout the game, but in the end the Cougars proved too much in a 51-38 loss Friday afternoon.
The undoing for Plainville was its inability to hit open shots and protect the ball. Haddam-Killingworth played an extended two-three zone for the majority of the contest and was regularly able to get into the passing lanes. When the Cougars weren’t forcing turnovers though, the Blue Devils were able to get some good looks, they just didn’t fall.
“I think our decision making definitely needs to get better,” Plainville head coach Jim DiNello said. “We committed a lot of turnovers which obviously hurt and that has been a big problem all season.
“We also have a tendency to settle for jump shots. It’s one of the phases of the game that we need to get better at is attacking gaps, getting to the rim so we can get to the free-throw line more. I’ll give them credit though, most of the shots today were good shots. They were in rhythm and they were open the just didn’t fall. One thing at a time I guess.”
DiNello’s point about getting to the free-throw line is well taken as the Blue Devils were outshot from there 14-8 and that was with several misses. Haddam-Killingworth did most of its work in the paint in the contest which was a stark contrast to what Plainville did on the offensive end.
At this point in the season though, the Blue Devils don’t really have any other choice but to run their offense through their perimeter players.
“I would like to see us get the ball inside a little bit more and get a little bit more production out of our post guys points-wise so that we can start playing the game more inside out,” DiNello said. “I think that’s another big reason right now for why we settle. Our post guys aren’t comfortable yet getting the ball, making a move, making a counter move and having to finish around the rim. That will be the next part of expansion we put into our game.”
But the game didn’t start off great for Plainville as Haddam-Killingworth jumped out early and doubled up the Blue Devils in the first quarter 16-8. In the beginning of the second quarter though, Plainville fought back early. Senior Jared Demons came off the bench and hit two quick three-pointers to get the score within four points and provided a spark for Plainville. Demons finished the game with nine points.
Unfortunately for the Blue Devils that spark didn’t last very long as the Cougars took a nine point lead into the half and only expanded on that lead after halftime. The Cougars used a balanced-attack in the game as they had three players in double-figures including Luke Bauer and Jamie Bowen who had 13 a piece. Brady Callahan led the way for the Blue Devils as he dropped in a game-high 14 points, six of which were earned at the charity stripe.
In the end, it was the fifth straight loss for Plainville, all five of which have been by double-digits.
It hasn’t been the season the Blue Devils would have hoped for so far but the team is very young and at this point DiNello isn’t worried about the team’s record or what the scoreboard says at the end of each game.
“The biggest thing is the guys are evaluated every day not based on what happens on the scoreboard but by their effort, their energy and their enthusiasm to play the game and do everything right off the court,” he said. “That’s where our focus lies and if we started to win some games along the way that would be great. But we are not playing to the scoreboard, we are just playing to get better every day.”
Michael Woolfson can be reached at 860-801-5203 or firstname.lastname@example.org