NEWINGTON - A 19-point quarter made all the difference for the Southington boys basketball team Tuesday night.
After being outscored 11-8 in the first quarter, the Blue Knights stepped into the next quarter ready to play in their 52-44 win over Newington.
“We struggled in the first quarter,” Southington’s Colin Burdette said. “Coach basically told us we were playing awful and then we went on a big run to begin the second quarter, changing the attitude of our team for the rest of the game.”
Cameron Clynes opened up the second quarter with a 3-pointer, sparking the Blue Knights’ 14-3 run. He then hit two of his three free throws on the next possession.
Andrew Lohneiss and Burdette shot back-to-back baskets for Southington, but not before Mason Ramano could sink a 3 for the Indians. The Blue Knights continued their run with a 3 from William Wadolowski and another basket from Lohneiss.
“We were able to extend [the lead] a little bit, but then they came back and fought, and fought, and fought,” Southington head coach John Cessario said. “We were lucky to hit our free throws and we wound up doing some defensive things on the floor, then before you know it we had the lead up to four.”
Lohneiss scored eight of the Blue Knights 19 points in the second quarter and 21 overall to lead the team. Romano led the Indians with 15.
“I think we played well overall,” Romano said. “Our defense wasn’t really what we wanted it to be. [Lohneiss] is a great player, and we tried to shut him down on defense, but he played well, shout out to him. We’re just have to keep working hard.”
Southington’s Jeremy Mercier put the first four points of the game with back-to-back baskets. But Newington was able to tie the game up quick as James Holley was brought to the foul line twice, making all 4-out-of-4 shots.
With the game tied 4-4, both teams traded baskets for another tie at six.
“We knew it was going to be tough coming in,” Cessario said. “[Indians head coach Ed Quick] is a tremendous coach. We knew in the first quarter when it was 6-6, these guys were ready to defend. We knew we were going to be in a battle.”
Newington’s Mason Romano set the Indians up with a 5-point play to take the lead in the first quarter. Mason hit a 3-point goal with 25 seconds left on the clock. He then stole the ball back and brought it down court for a slam dunk with nine seconds left in the quarter.
The Indians controlled the third quarter, outscoring Southington 17-11 including a 6-0 run during the first two minutes. Clynes answered back with a basket but not before the Romano sunk another 3, tallying up a total of three on the evening.
With less than three minutes left in the third quarter, Burdette hit a three of his own igniting a 9-0 Southington run. The Blue Knights ended the quarter 38-34.
Newington’s Julian Ortiz hit a 3-point goal to get the fourth started, to give the team a lead at 38-37. But Southington scored 14 points in the final quarter, eight of them being from the free throw line. Burdette shot 1-for-2, Lohneiss was 3-for-4 on the line and Ryan Gesnaldo was 4-for-4 during the last eight minutes.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game for us,” Quick said. “In the fourth quarter when the game was in the bounds, they made the plays and we didn’t.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or email@example.com