NEWINGTON - It was as if two different Newington girls basketball teams showed up to play against Platt Thursday evening.
There was the team that struggled to find a consistent amount of rhythm over the course of the first half, and as a result, went into the break at the half up only a basket. Then there was the one that stepped out on the court after the break and proceeded to come out with the win.
“We tried to speed them up and force the issue a little bit early,” Newington head coach Richard Bangs said. “I think we then stuck with it a little too long and they started to figure it out and they got some really good looks against us. But we also got good looks in the first half, we just weren’t knocking them down.”
The second team that showed up was quicker to the ball, forced more turnovers and was disciplined defensively. As a result, the Indians held the Panthers to their lowest output of the night in the third quarter, giving up just four points.
“I think it was all about defensive discipline,” Bangs said. “Not that we were necessarily undisciplined in the first half, but again, we’re trying to double team, force the issue a lot and it was leaving things open. On plays like that, with a good team like Platt, they’re going to pass out of double teams, find people in the lane, so we just decided to go away from that and play disciplined defense. We made them take the shots we wanted them to take, and that’s what turned the whole game around for us.”
The Indians put up 15 points in the third quarter all while eliminating the Panthers ability to shoot and then proceeded score 18 points over the final eight minutes of the game.
“We shared the ball a lot better in the second half,” Olivia St. Remy said. “We were good defensively and we kept focus. All of our heads were in the game and we just came out aggressive.”
The difference between the two halves was just a matter of a simple adjustment at halftime, one in which Newington was able to reap the benefits.
“I think during the first half some of the girls were forcing it a little bit,” Bangs said. “We talked about that at halftime and I thought she played much better in the second half. She was getting her teammates involved, not forcing the issue in the lane, and I think that made a big difference. We committed early at halftime to not chase them so much on defense. “
With the Indians now past the halfway mark of the season and sitting at 6-8 with two more wins needed to qualify for the postseason, there are still some things they know they have to correct moving forward.
“I think we need to work on scoring consistently,” Bangs said. “At times, we struggle with making makeable shots, cutting down on turnovers, occasionally we get a little free with the basketball and against the good teams that we play it gets you in trouble a little bit.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org