ENFIELD - The Southington girls basketball team knew it was going to be at a size disadvantage in its quarterfinal game against Enfield on Thursday night. What the Blue Knights did not expect was to have such a poor shooting night as they struggled from the field throughout the game and turned the ball over consistently in an eventual 54-43 loss.
“I think the preparation was there,” Southington head coach Mike Forgione said. “We came here early got some shots up, but we just didn’t get enough shots to fall in the game. They are a long team so even when it seems like you have an open shot, they are contesting it and altering it.”
The Eagles came in having only lost once all season, but Southington had its chances in the game especially with Enfield center Mary Baskerville being in foul trouble all night and eventually fouling out.
“Give Enfield credit, they played a really good game and had other girls step up,” Forgione said. “We battled hard throughout the entire game. That’s Southington basketball. We fight all 32 minutes of the game unfortunately tonight we ran into a really good team.”
Despite the foul trouble, Baskerville still had an impact on the game as she scored 10 points and blocked several shots inside. The Eagles though, were led by Daniell Delano, who finished with a game-high 22 points.
The Blue Knights were able to stay in the game throughout with their work on the glass and from the free throw line. Despite being undersized, Southington held its own on the glass and had several second chances, while knocking down a high percentage of their free throws. In the end, it was the struggles from the field and turnovers that were too much to overcome.
“Our shots just weren’t falling and there were points where we were out hustled, but we battled in there and tried our hardest,” said Janette Wadolowski, who had a team-high 21 points for the Blue Knights. “We are just upset that the season is over.”
After entering the half down just seven, Southington’s offense struggled in the opening moments of the third and Baskerville re-entered the game, after dealing with foul trouble in the opening half, to score four of Enfield’s first six points.
The Blue Knights didn’t get their first points of the third quarter until just under four minutes in on a pair Wadolowski free throws. The foul she drew was on Baskerville, her third of the game.
Even with their center on the bench, the Eagles were still able to extend their lead and keep the offense working. The lead got as big as 15 in the back half of the third quarter but Southington cut that lead back down to eight to end the third quarter on back-to-back jumpers from Brianna Harris and Wadolowski.
Baskerville scored the first two points of the fourth quarter on an offensive rebound and putback. On Southington’s ensuing possession though, she picked up her fourth foul off the ball and was sent back to the bench.
The Blue Knights cut the lead down to eight points and at that point, Enfield started to milk the clock with more than five minutes left. A 3-point play from Delano with less than four minutes left in the game brought the lead back up to 11 to all but ice the game at that point.
The first half was much of the same. Enfield jumped out to an early 7-2 lead as Southington had some early-game jitters. The Blue Knights turned the ball over several times in the early going which led to more possessions for the Eagles.
Southington cut the lead to one point with a minute left in the first on a Harris 3-pointer. Enfield scored the final four points of the frame though, to take a 14-9 lead after one.
Enfield extended that into a 10-0 run to start the second quarter to make the lead double-digits for the first time. Just 50 seconds into the second the Eagles were up 20-9.
Southington didn’t score its first points of the second quarter until three and a half minutes in on two Wadolowski free throws. The junior would end up scoring four straight points from the charity stripe to cut the deficit to nine. Possibly more importantly, though, was one of the fouls was on Baskerville for her second which forced the center to the bench for the rest of the half.
Wadolowski went on a personal 8-0 run, with the free throws included, in the middle of the second quarter to cut the lead to just five with less than four minutes left. Enfield hit a couple of jumpers to close out the half and never looked back.