BRISTOL - When the Plainville boys basketball team took the floor Tuesday against Bristol Central, it was a matchup of two programs at different stages.
The Rams brought an experienced group to the court with six seniors in the scoring column led by Jaekwon Spencer, who scored a game-high 29 points in the 74-59 Bristol Central win.
For the Blue Devils, just one senior scored in the game as Jailen Lindsey had four points.
Instead, Plainville relied on a trio of juniors with Ben Dougherty, Brady Callahan and Pierre Ramirez all scoring in double digits.
“We’re learning how to compete and next we have to learn how to win,” Blue Devils head coach Jim DiNello said. “I feel like we competed pretty well. We competed really well against Rocky Hill [last Tuesday], but now we’ve got to learn how to finish. And that’s going to be tough when you’re not used to being in games like this. But it’s a great thing to be playing hard and playing good basketball.”
Dougherty led Plainville with 25 points and shined in the final quarter of play, showing his ability to knock down shots from deep. In the fourth alone he scored 13 points.
Callahan, the point guard, was in control, finding his teammates and showing his ability to score. He finished with 19 points in the game, second on the team.
Ramirez scored 11 points and led the team in free throw attempts with six. His hustle on the floor stood out as he fought for extra shot opportunities and was able to get rebounds on the defensive end of the floor.
With the juniors shining, Plainville is inching closer to a strong season under DiNello, especially after a 0-20 season last year.
And while the 1-4 record may not indicate so, for the Blue Devils, it’s more about the product on the floor rather than what the scoreboard reads, especially against a team that plays impressive seniors.
“The kids battled,” DiNello said. “Every single night we talk about the same thing it’s work hard and we try not to pay attention to the scoreboard. I mean that sincerely. [Tuesday] I’ll talk to them and we’ll say did we play hard? The answer is going to be yes. Did we play with energy? The answer is going to be yes. Was the effort good? The answer is going to be yes. Did we quit? The answer is going to be absolutely not. It’s a good night. That’s a really good team and they have a chance to go really far.”
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org