New Britain - The 13-point run in the second half led by Hannah Maghini was not enough for the Bristol Knights as the team lost to New Britain 27-22 Tuesday in the opening game of the Nutmeg State Games.
It was a game of momentum as each team went on scoring runs throughout the contest.
In the first half of the game, New Britain opened the game on a 9-0 run and played excellent defense, forcing turnovers and using its size to rebound.
“I think the first half they might have psyched themselves out when they saw a couple big girls,” Bristol coach Darrell Darby said. “We had opportunities to score down low but they passed it off. In the second half it was a different team. They were more aggressive and were looking for the open man.”
New Britain closed out the first half of the game with an 11-2 lead. However, the game was far from over as the Knights group showed a lot of fight.
Bristol came out on fire in the second half and closed in on the New Britain lead. The Knights closed the New Britain lead to 11-9 on baskets from Maghini, Meredith Foreman and Avery Arbuckle. Olivia Darby also knocked down one of her two foul shots on the 7-point run to start the second half.
The momentum for Bristol did not last long as New Britain scored 14 straight points to open up a 25-9 lead.
With the big lead for New Britain, the Knights again fought back to get within three points of the lead with under a minute remaining.
Maghini was a spark for Bristol in the second half and used her quickness to find open shots. She knocked down a three-pointer for Bristol and followed it up with an and-one to cut the deficit.
“I feel like we were quicker than them and that kind of helped us but we didn’t box out,” Maghini said.
New Britain’s Brianna Clarke iced the game at the free throw line in the final minute. With her team up three points, Clarke knocked down both of her free throws to extend the lead back to five points with less than 30 seconds to go in the game.
Gabby Roy scored 10 of the 27 New Britain points, including eight straight points in the second half. Roy was feeling it from downtown, hitting two straight.
“I think our first game went pretty well,” Roy said. “Each of us learned what we have to work on but at the same time it was our first game and I think all of us are proud with our effort because we all played really hard.”
The size for New Britain was a factor but the quickness from the Knights showed by driving and drawing fouls to get foul shot opportunities. Unfortunately the Knights could not knock down its foul shots in the game.
“They played hard. That’s all you can ask for in a summer league game,” New Britain acting coach Donavon Lighty said. “We need to cleanup the turnovers though. Other than that, I liked what I saw today.
With the tournament being double-loss elimination, the Knights will enter the next game with momentum following the strong second half performance against a bigger New Britain team.
Dan Orencole can be reached at , or On Twitter: @OrencoleDan