BRISTOL â€• Following the first week of the 2021 winter season, the Plainville girls basketball team was looking good.
The Blue Devils won their first two games, including a one-point victory over Class LL Southington and a two-point win over Lewis Mills, leaving them as one of two remaining undefeated teams in CCC Region B, the group of local teams they will be playing against this season.
In its third game, Plainville ran into the other 2-0 team in the region, Bristol Eastern, coming off of a 32-point win over Bristol Central, and the Lancers treated the Blue Devils similarly by winning 77-33 and holding them to nine points in the first half. Plainville was overmatched in this contest after coming out strong to start its shortened campaign and knows it will need to learn from this loss to bounce back and pick up more wins.
â€śWe were more aggressive [in our first two games],â€ť head coach Jessica Neuweiler said. â€śWe moved the basketball a lot better, we looked for our opportunities a lot better. I think [Wednesday], we stood quite a bit. So I think offensively we moved the basketball better, we were more aggressive, we did a better job on the boards in the first two games. [Wednesday], we just didnâ€™t do the things that made us successful in the first two games, we have to fix that.â€ť
The Blue Devilsâ€™ offense had no answer for Easternâ€™s full-court press that completely overwhelmed their ability to set up a play past halfcourt. They struggled to find quality shots once over the midcourt line in the first half and failed to match their opponentâ€™s energy.
Plainville was able to build some chemistry in the second half to finish the game with 33 points, which the team only surpassed by two points in its win over Lewis Mills. Senior Jaida Vasquezâ€™s game began to find a rhythm a little bit in the final two quarters as she started to score more and create opportunities for her teammates.
â€śWe started talking,â€ť Vasquez said. â€śWe got our heads up. At first, we had our heads down and we werenâ€™t thinking right. Now, we had a little talk and worked together and it turned out to be better.â€ť
Vasquez also said she wants to see her team improve its communication and passing as they move on with the season. Understanding thereâ€™s little value in wallowing in a bad loss, she has her sights set ahead on making sure they compete in every game going forward.
â€śThis game is already over with and now we have to continue,â€ť Vasquez said. â€śWeâ€™re looking for more wins.â€ť
Vasquez finished the game with 11 points and was her teamâ€™s leading scorer, but Plainville will need greater outputs from her in future games. The Plainville offense was stagnant without her ability to find the basket, which always opens up the game. Kori Jones scored four of the Blue Devils early points and appeared to be finding good shot opportunities, but did not score again in the game.
â€śWe need more people scoring,â€ť Neuweiler said. â€śWe have to figure out ways to put the ball in the basket and we have to do that on a consistent basis night in and night out.â€ť
Neuweiler does not envision her team having any issues growing from this defeat. With a quarter of the season already gone, the Blue Devils cannot lose focus after in their next couple of games because the shortened season makes even small losing streaks detrimental.
Plainville will look to get back on track against Bristol Central, which has not won a game and is coming off of a 25-point loss to Southington, which Plainville beat.
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org