By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – It’s a three-team race for the CCC South championship in boys basketball and the squad from Bristol Central is once again in the thick of things.
Combined with Maloney and suddenly surging Middletown, those teams are the only viable candidates to claim either the title outright or at least a share of things.
But the Rams don’t want to share anything and feel that they are in position to win it all in the South.
And when Platt showed up to square off against Central on Tuesday, Feb. 4, the visitors weren’t going to knock off the Rams on this day.
Platt kept its winless ledger intact as Central smashed the Panthers 65-37 in a CCC South tilt from Bristol.
Central moved to 12-2 on the year and 8-1 in CCC South action.
Maloney (11-3 overall, 8-1) is currently tied with the Rams while Middletown (9-5, 7-2) is just a game behind.
Each team had five CCC South games left from that point to make its respective moves within the division.
But in this one against Platt, it was over quickly as Central wasn’t going to let the Panthers make any kind of upset bid.
Once again, the Rams’ balance paid off handsomely as everyone on the squad got involved in this one.
Jacob Collins notched a game-high 21 points while Manny Severino added 15 in the winning effort.
Joey DeFillippi had nine points, Ty Hamel flipped in six while Devin Francis nailed in five.
LJ Johnson nabbed in three points while Jerry LaPenta, Shawn Caron each netted a bucket for the home team.
Platt, who is apparently Maloney’s minor league affiliate for boys basketball, didn’t have a double-digit scorer. Mike Naser came close as his three three-pointers led the way for the Panthers in totaling nine points.
Defense fueled the victors as Platt tallied up just 10 first-half points and trailed by 24 points at the half.
Central scored 15 first period points and led by 10, 15-5, after one period while severely outscoring the visitors 19-5 in the second to snatch a 34-10 cushion by intermission.
The Rams outscored the Panthers 20-14 in the third frame to add to its already impressive edge. With eight minutes left, Platt trailed 54-24 with no hope of a comeback jaunt.
The Panthers finally won the quarter scoring, against Central’s reserves. Even as Platt took the stanza 13-11, the Rams pulled out a big 28-point victory from Central.
And then on Friday, Feb. 7, DeFillippi once again hit a game-winning three-pointer as Central snuck past Bulkeley 63-62.
DeFillippi scored 19 points while Manny Severino added 14 in the winning effort.
The Rams, now 13-2, have won 13 of its past 14 games.