BERLIN - Winning teams find a way to win, and the Bristol Central boys basketball team is no exception.
Berlin found that out the hard way as the Rams trailed early but dominated the second quarter to take the lead going into the half and finished the month of January unbeaten with the 62-54 win over the Redcoats Monday night.
“Playing at somebody else’s home, sometimes you start off slow,” Bristol Central’s Alex Lape said. “As a team I think we’re better when we get off to a slow start. We get more focused and when we’re down in the beginning, it gives us motivation.”
Bristol Central senior captain Jaekwon Spencer, set the goal of going undefeated in January and did his part in finishing it off with a game-high 29 points.
“It feels good,” Spencer said. “We played up to our potential and accomplished the goal that I set for the team. I challenged them and challenged myself. And we accomplished it”
Rams big man Lape finished second on the team in scoring with 11 points and was a force in the paint, rebounding the ball and getting second shot opportunities. He finished an efficient 5-for-7 from the field and all of his buckets were down low.
“In most games we try to use our size,” Lape said. “Most teams can’t really match up with us.”
For Berlin, defending the height of Bristol Central was trouble throughout the night, as the Rams used their length on the court to their advantage.
“Our toughness is not there all the time,” Redcoats head coach Mike Veneziano said. “Some of our tougher kids are just not big enough against some of the bigger teams we play.”
With its lack of size Berlin relied heavily on its shooters, especially from the outside.
The Redcoats hit seven 3-pointers in the game, led by Gianni Fanelli, who had four.
“We give guys opportunities to score in the paint, but we really don’t have a post player,” Veneziano said. “We don’t have a guy that can play with his back to the basket, so it’s difficult. It’s difficult when you can’t go inside out.
“But we have guys that crash the boards and do a good job of kicking it out to our 3-point shooters. That’s usually the best 3-point shot, off of an offensive rebound.”
The Rams hit 18 of 28 from the foul line, while the Redcoats knocked down nine of their 11 free throw opportunities.
Plantamuro finished with nine points, all baskets on 3-point shots.
Miller had eight points and was a perfect 2-for-2 from the field.
Berlin’s Holden Murphy added 10 points in the game.
With the loss, the Redcoats fell to 7-7 on the season.
The Rams moved to 11-3 on the year and are looking for more success.
“We’ve got to keep it going,” Spencer said. “[We have to] keep the flow going. I’m going to talk to the team tomorrow. Just because January’s over doesn’t mean we can’t continue to go undefeated in February.”
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org