By MICHAEL LETENDRE
ENFIELD – After a 17-win campaign and a CCC South championship, the ride for the Bristol Eastern girls basketball team finally came to a conclusion against one the state’s best squads.
And on Friday, March 3, the No. 15 ranked Lancers fell to second rated Enfield by a 72-37 final in a second round CIAC Class LL tilt on the road.
The win propelled the Eagles to 25-1 while Eastern ended the year at 17-7, simply running into an overwhelming squad that’s as good as any in the transition game.
Enfield ran out to a 23-2 edge in the showdown off steals, lay-ups, and second chance shots as the Lancers were playing catch-up the rest of the evening.
“The thing is, they’re a good team,” said Eastern coach Tony Floyd of Enfield. “If you don’t keep [the ball] in play and you let them get ahead of you, then you’re in trouble because of their height. They did a great job in transition on us tonight. We didn’t get back. They sent two kids and they hurt us a lot in the beginning.”
“In the first half, they must have had at least 20 points in transition and that was because they released the two [players] and they have the big kid [All-Stater Mary Baskerville] out there and they were just getting out there and we weren’t getting back.”
Baskerville did a masterful job on the court though Eastern forced her to miss more than her share of close-up shots and lay-ups over the encounter.
She led Enfield with 16 points, 14 rebounds, and five blocked shots as her wide wingspan and reach gave Eastern fits on offensive, and defense, all night long.
“Baskerville did a good job inside,” said Floyd. “She’s 6-foot-4. We’ve only got 5-foot-9 [Diana Wnuk] and five-foot-seven [Jillian LeBeau]. We had to fight to get position but we did a pretty good job just giving them one shot but, you know, we didn’t get to the loose balls where [Enfield] did.”
Wink ended her varsity career with one final double-double of 14 points and 13 points, and three steals while fellow senior Miya Laprise added two points, three rebounds, three assists, and three steals.
LeBeau rounded out Eastern’s senior core with four points and three rebounds.
Hannah Maghini dropped in six points, five rebounds, and three assists while Mandi Janick scored all eight of her points over the first half of play.
Meredith Foreman, Paige McLaughlin, and Julia Gettings all added free throws to close out Eastern’s scoring efforts.
Also for Enfield, Caterina Fonseca zipped in 15 points while Danielle Delano dropped in 12.
The Eagles led by 27 points at one point in the first half before settling on a 44-18 cushion at intermission.
But that 27-4 edge after one period of play doomed the Lancers for the rest of the contest.
“They out-hustled us in the first half, I thought, and that was big,” said Floyd. “They came out in the first quarter, we didn’t set the tone and that hurt us. We needed to be able to do a better job with the ball, executing offensively in the half court.”
But it was a game early as Janick cashed in on a hoop to make it to a 4-2 contest in Enfield’s favor but after 19 straight points by the Eagles, that lead grew to 21 for the home squad.
Maghini canned an offensive rebound for a put-back late in the first period but by the completion of the stanza, the Lancers were trailing big by 23 points.
“That put us in a hole after the first quarter,” said Floyd of the Enfield transition. “And that was big. They haven’t had people come at us in transition like this [all year].”
Eastern slowed it down a bit in the second quarter but the deficit grew to 27 points when Delano hit a hoop plus-a-foul and with 2:34 to go in the half, Enfield surged in front 40-13.
McLaughlin later canned a charity toss and Janick drained two straight hoops but at the half, Enfield was cruising at 44-18.
Maghini opened the third with two foul shots but Enfield uncorked 15 straight points to end the period and with eight minutes remaining, the Eagles led 59-20.
All three Eastern seniors notched points in the fourth and final quarters of their careers and when Gettings added one final free throw to the scoreboard, Enfield surged to a 72-37 win in round two, moving on to the quarterfinal round of Class LL versus Southington, an upset winner over Hall.
“I hate to lose on this end of the game but in spurts, they showed what they’re capable of doing,” said Floyd of his squad. “We just couldn’t put it together. We dug ourselves a hole too early in the game to be able to play our game. We can’t go chasing a team like that. And they’re a good team.”
“I tip my hat off to Enfield.”