In a reverse showing of last Wednesday night’s game against Southington, the Bristol Eastern boys basketball team took a fourth period lead and kept it – hitting nine out of its ten free throws over the final 1:29 of the contest – as the Lancers turned away Brookfield 53-43 in a nonconference showdown to pick up its first victory of the young season.
The Bobcats (1-1) forced Eastern to the line down the stretch of the contest as Gabe Ungaro (15 points) and Ryan Chiasson (five points, five rebounds) hit critical one-and-one shooting opportunities to pad its lead that eventually iced the game.
“That’s what closes out games,” said Ungaro of Eastern’s charity tosses. “If you can’t hit free throws, you can’t win.”
Eastern led 10-6 after one frame but trailed 21-20 at intermission.
The Lancers turned up the defensive juices in the second half of play and held the Bobcats to 9-of-30 shooting (30 percent) over the final sixteen minutes of action.
“In the second half, we just turned it on,” said Ungaro about the defense. “In the first half, we were just not there. In the second half, we just pulled through and gave it all we got really.”
The Lancers led 35-32 after three periods and off some big three-pointers by Ungaro and Mike Belton (11 points, 3 three-pointers), along with the clutch foul shooting by Eastern in the fourth and final stanza, Brookfield got no closer than nine points the rest of the way.
“That’s the first one,” said Ungaro of the victory. “(But) we’ve got more (to do).”
– by Michael Letendre