By MICHAEL LETENDRE
ENFIELD – Off a tough loss to Meriden, the Bristol Central boys basketball team was hungry to get back into the win column.
So the Rams decided to hit the road to get a little takeout.
And Fermi of Enfield was the main course.
Jake Collins scored 13 points and led a balanced attack as Central took out the Falcons 56-35 in a CCC Interdivisional game.
Central moved to 2-1 on the season in the victory while Fermi remained winless at 0-2.
Collins notched eight of hits 13 points in the second period of action, to go along with eight rebounds, while Joey DeFillippi sank home two three-pointers and totaled ten points.
He also collected seven rebounds – two on the offensive end – while dishing out five assists.
Justen Jakubiak scored eight points, Manny Severino netted eight off the bench while Landin Rutledge popped in six while blocking two shots.
That balance helped to pace the Rams’ attack.
“The two games we’ve won, we’ve been balanced,” said Bristol Central coach Tim Barrette about the scoring. “And the one game we lost, we basically had one guy in double figures and everyone else struggled.”
Nick Prentiss didn’t have his best shooting night of the season but he still contributed with half-a-dozen rebounds and also had a couple of assists and steals.
“I was real proud of my guys tonight because Nick Prentiss had a big game the other night and he struggled tonight. He couldn’t get the ball to drop but his teammates pick him up,” said Barrette. “It was a total team effort tonight.”
Fermi was pesky early as was forward Josh Murphy (11 points) and Alex Zachery (seven) for the Falcons.
Even when Central pulled ahead early, Fermi managed to make a significant comeback to hang around. “He’s got senior leaders,” said Barrette of Fermi coach Vern Mitchell’s club. “He’s got seven seniors on the team and I’ll tell you, this place is not easy to play in. We struggle every time we come up here.”
The Falcons never led in the game and off a three-pointer by Prentiss, Central led 14-3 with 2:06 left to go in the first quarter.
But off a 16-6 edge by the Rams, Fermi charged right back into the game.
The Falcons went on a blazing 9-0 run as a lay-up from Greg Kracunas got Fermi within one at 16-15 with 6:22 left before the half.
However, the Falcons were stopped dead in its tracks and off a Central timeout, the Rams employed its full-court press and the home team quickly fell apart.
Central went on a blazing 22-2 run and by the end of it, two straight hoops from Jakubiak turned a one-point lead into a commanding 38-17 push with 32 seconds remaining in the half.
Lay-ups off steals were in vogue as defense quickly took over the game for the visiting outfit.
“We went to the full-court press,” said Barrette. “We sped up the game. The game was not in the numbers where we wanted to play and we needed to get the game into a speed mode I’ll call it. We had to get moving and that really fueled us.”
“We got some easy hoops which kind of got us into our offense.”
The halftime lead was 19 and early in the third, Fermi got as close as 17 before another Central run knocked the Falcons out of the contest for good.
The Rams went on an 8-0 spurt – highlighted by a huge blocked shot, rebound, and a break-away dunk from Tyleam Hamel – and Central led 48-23 with just over a minute to play in the third period.
The Rams led 50-27 after three completed frames and padded its lead as much as 25 before sealing the deal with a 56-35 win.
“This is the game at the beginning of the year, you look at it and you know it’s a must win,” said Barrette. “We had some anxious moments out there but we got our act together and finished the game strongly to win tonight.”
NOTES…The Rams shot 17-of-35 from the field in the first half (48.6 percent) and made seven steals over the final 6:22 of the second period…In all, the Rams tallied up 17 steals in the contest while committing only 13 turnovers…Central held a 17-7 offensive rebounding advantage…The Rams had 16 assists off the 23 baskets…In the JV game, Central defeated Fermi 51-20.
By MICHAEL LETENDRE