PLAINVILLE - The rain fell from far and wide for Southington girls basketball Monday night in its win over Plainville.
The Blue Knights jumped out to a 17-0 lead to start the game and knocked down a trio of three-pointers in the process, while holding Plainville to 17 points for the entire contest to remain undefeated. They had one of their best combined shooting efforts of the season as they look to take advantage of their breadth of capable outside scorers.
Winning 61-17, Southington scored nearly 70 percent of its points from long distance with eight different players combining for 14 threes.
“We all can shoot like that,” head coach Howard Hewitt said. “In the NBA, teams can shoot like that, and some nights they don’t. Those kids who shot [Monday], none of those [were bad shots]. There were some kids that didn’t shoot enough, they can shoot.”
The shooting remained consistent throughout the game for the Blue Knights, who hit at least three triples in each quarter. Five players hit at least two shots from behind the arc led by four from freshman Ciara Sockwell, who paced all scorers with 12 points.
Running with a somewhat young lineup and only one senior, half of Southington’s threes in the game came from freshman with Lily Cooper drilling a pair of threes in the third quarter. Relying on the combination of youth and three-point shooting can be a dangerous proposition, so Hewitt makes sure to encourage his guards to work the ball inside to senior center Alison Barretta while still welcoming his players to shoot open threes when they get them.
“You have to have inside [play],’” Hewitt said. “We had a tough game early in the year against a team we were probably better than and we ended up squeaking it out, but we were three-for-16 shooting threes in the first half. [Missing threes] can bury you.”
Starting the season 7-0, the Blue Knights are winning firstly with defense by allowing 30 points per game. Hewitt said his guards have been playing the best so far and they showed it against Plainville, not only with their long-range shooting, but also how they led the team’s full-court press that forced consistently.
Shooting effectively from distance can be deadly when the shots are falling, but Cooper said she believes her team is at its best when they are turning defense into offense.
“One of the best parts of our game right now is [the] fast break and getting the ball up the court, not allowing the defense to set up,” Cooper said.
Southington was supposed to have a quick turnaround after beating Plainville with a game against Manchester on Tuesday night. But that contest was postponed so the Blue Knights will be off until they host Glastonbury (2-2) on Thursday. One win away from qualifying for the state tournament, the Blue Knights will look to remain focused and not let their unbeaten streak go to their heads.
“We’re going to try to stay undefeated, but it’s one game at a time,” Cooper said. “We’re not trying to look too far ahead. Every game matters.”
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org.