PLAINVILLE - The Southington girls basketball team left the Plainville gym with as many wins this season as Plainville had healthy players for Monday night’s contest.
With covid making a noticeable presence within the Blue Devils’ roster, they dressed seven players for this game, which helped Southington cruise to its seventh win of the season and maintain its undefeated streak with a 61-17 victory.
The Blue Knights were lights out from behind the three-point line while holding Plainville to three points in the second half. Eight different shooters hit long-range shots for Southington, led by four from freshman Ciara Sockwell along with junior Gabby Dangelo and freshmen Hannnah Blanchard and Lily Cooper each hitting two.
“I think our defense is what brings us up,” Cooper said. “When we keep the energy up on defense, it turns into offense.”
The bottom of the basket eluded the Blue Devils until the final moments of the first quarter when freshman Hailey Andersen converted a layup as time expired in the period for her team’s first bucket. The Blue Knights were completely dominant for the rest of the quarter, scoring 17 unanswered points to start the game. Freshman Ciara Sockwell knocked down her first two three-pointers of the game as Southington faced no challenges scoring.
Employing full-court pressure to further disrupt Plainville’s rhythm, the Blue Knights’ defense was impenetrable as they held their opponent scoreless for nearly the entire first quarter. The Blue Devils needed time to adjust to the speed Southington forced them to play at, but eventually started to find scoring opportunities and had points on the board by the end of the period.
“I think the press caught them off guard a little bit because it’s hard to simulate that,” Southington head coach Howard Hewitt said. “[Plainville] did a great job in the second quarter. We lost a little intensity, I guess.”
Plainville’s adjustments yielded far more production in the second quarter as it did not let the Blue Knights add to their lead. This was the only quarter where the Blue Devils made more than one shot with both sides scoring 12 points in the frame.
“Our younger classmen really stepped up today,” Plainville head coach Jeff Smedick said. “For a couple of them, this was their first time playing in a varsity game. We gave the goals before the game, pretty much not to give up and they played as hard as they could tonight.”
Senior Lilly Wazorko and freshman Marissa Miller drilled threes on consecutive possessions to bolster Plainville’s offensive output. Miller had five points in the quarter and finished the game with eight points to lead her team in scoring.
“We calmed down a little bit, we got the jitters out,” Smedick said. “Our freshmen weren’t as nervous and we started to relax and actually pass the ball and move the ball around. We were lucky to get some open shots and it was our best quarter.”
While still controlling the game’s pace, Southington lost its hold over the game after opening the game on such a high level. The team struggled to match its energy from the first eight minutes and fell slightly flat in the period before halftime.
Miller hit her second triple of the day around the midway point of the third quarter for the Blue Devils’ only basket of the second half as they were held scoreless for more than 10 minutes to finish the game. Southington more than doubled its lead in the third quarter behind eight points from Dangelo and six from Cooper, who both hit all of their threes after halftime.
“They were letting us shoot from the outside and our girls did a good job of hitting [shots],” Cooper said. “We have to keep those threes going into the next game.”
Up next for the Blue Devils will be a road contest against Lewis Mills at 6 p.m. on Thursday while the Blue Knights play for the second day in a row Tuesday when they host at 6:45 p.m.
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org