By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – We’re already here.
It’s the Bristol Eastern boys basketball squad versus a streaking Bristol Central program in the first of two match-ups this season.
The Rams are playing their best hoop of the year while the Lancers are struggling, perhaps down as many as two rotational players due to injury coming into the game.
But you never know when it comes to BC/BE hoops as anything is possible.
Let’s take a quick look at the game:
Bristol Eastern at Bristol Central
Time and Location: Friday, Jan. 19 at 6:45 p.m., Bristol Central High School (Charles C. Marsh Gymnasium)
The Series between the squads: The Rams leads the all-time series, 65-54. This is the 120th showdown between the schools.
Players to Watch: Bristol Eastern – Tyler Mason (sr, guard), Matt D’Amato (so, guard), Mac Goulet (sr, forward), Camryn Tate (sr, guard), Ariza Kolloverja (sr, guard/forward), Jake Lafferty (sr, forward/center), Brendan Gayle (so, guard), Elijah Parent (fr, guard), Carter Dziedzic (so, forward, injured); Bristol Central – Isaiah Miller (sr, guard), Jaekwon Spencer (sr, forward/center); Alex Bernier (sr, forward/center); Dathan Hickey (sr, guard ), Noah Plantamuro (sr, guard), Alex Lape (sr, forward), Ryan Rodriguez (jr, forward), Justus Fitzpatrick (jr, guard), Brett Kempton (sr, forward), Austin Brown (so, guard).
Bristol Eastern’s Record: At press time, the Lancers were 3-4.
Bristol Central’s Record: The Rams were 6-3 and undefeated in Jan..
Why Bristol Central could win: Central could be more athletic than Bristol Eastern at all five positions. That’s a huge advantage. The Rams have the height, can pound the ball inside, and have the ability to run the Lancers off the court. Plus, Central may hold the advantage in the game of human chess – starring Isaiah Miller and Alex Lape. That’s a huge edge. It’s all about transition. If Central gets into its transition, it’s game over man.
Why Bristol Eastern could win: Eastern’s defense has been very good this year. Don’t let that Enfield loss fool you. Opponents have shot pretty badly against the Lancers, especially from deep. Plus, Eastern is due for a signature win. Last season, it was against Central.
Why Bristol Central could lose: If this game becomes emotional and the Rams lose control, that’s going to favor the Lancers. If anyone went to the Fitch/Central game, you saw what happened off a little physical play. Or if Central decides to take thirty 3-pointers against Eastern and doesn’t go inside, it led to doom and demise.
Why Bristol Eastern could lose: Eastern doesn’t want a track meet because the contest will be lost quickly. The Lancers want to dictate and control tempo but, boy, that’s a tall order against a surging Central squad. The Lancers have to simply put the ball in the hoop – not exactly easy against the Rams.
Coach Bunty Ray’s Take on the Game: “Obviously, their physical, have a lot of scoring and a lot of options. They are a lot more athletic than we are. But we’re going to show up and work as hard as we can. In an Eastern/Central game, you hope that you can go out and will yourself to a win, even if you’re an underdog. That’s what we’re going to do.”
Coach Tim Barrette’s Take on the Game: “I expect a hard fought game. A lot of time, I tell people throw the records out. There have been times we’ve been better and they’ve beaten us. And there have been times they thought they were going to win and we went in there and did a good job. Coach Ray will have them prepared. I’m sure they are going to play hard defensively [but] we’ll be ready to go too. It should be good game [this] Friday night.”
And the winner is…Bristol.