BERLIN - The Berlin boys basketball team is headed to the postseason, while Plainville finished out its season winless.
The Redcoats picked up their berth-clinching eighth win on Tuesday night, taking down Plainville by a score of 62-31 at home, making the Blue Devils 0-20.
“I think we played with a lot more energy than we’ve played with [recently],” Berlin coach Mike Veneziano said. “A little sense of urgency knowing that we had to win to get into the tournament. I’m proud of the kids. They overcame a lot this year.”
Berlin scored at least 14 points in each quarter and held the Blue Devils to single digits in three of the four frames in the blowout victory.
In the first quarter, the Redcoats scored 11 consecutive points and Plainville was only able to drain one basket and one free throw. Berlin took a 14-3 lead into the second quarter, where the scoring was nearly as lopsided. The home team put up another 13 points and limited its opponents to just six, heading into halftime with a 27-9 lead.
The Blue Devils came out to play after the midway break, trading baskets back and forth with the Redcoats. Plainville put together the only back-to-back points in the quarter, when Sam Lestini hit a pair of free throws halfway through the frame and then, less than a minute later, Jared Demmons followed with a three-pointer.
Plainville matched Berlin’s 14 points in the third quarter but that did nothing to diminish the daunting margin that the Redcoats had built in the first half.
As the fourth quarter began, the Blue Devils continued to go blow-for-blow with the Redcoats but could not put together any runs. Berlin kept them at bay and with just over four minutes left in the game, went on a 10-0 run that spanned 2:24 and but the game on ice, if it had not already been.
The Redcoats ultimately scored 13 of the game’s final 14 points to double-up the Blue Devils.
Jack Lynch led the way for Berlin, scoring a game-high 16 points. He was dominant down low on both offense and defense against a much smaller Blue Devils team.
“He’s significantly bigger on the block,” Plainville coach Jim DiNello said. “Exactly what an experienced team should do is go to the place where you have the mismatches, which is what they did and did a really good job with it.”
Jared Demmons scored 12 points in the game to lead Plainville, which, with the loss, completes a winless season. For DiNello, it was an easy answer to what went wrong for his team, especially Tuesday.
“An inexperienced basketball team that played inexperienced against an experienced basketball team that played experienced,” he said.
The Redcoats have one game remaining, tonight against Bristol Eastern, but the pressure of getting that eighth win will no longer linger over the team.
“It was a big relief,” Lynch said with a smile. “That big eight number, that’s what you shoot for. But going into [Tuesday] and getting the win, it feels great.”
Josh Kestenbaum can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @K_baum30