BRISTOL – The Bristol Eastern boys basketball squad never got into its game against Enfield on Friday, Jan. 11.
In fact, before the Lancers could tally a single point, the Eagles had built a 15-0 lead — on the way to a 72-48 triumph from the Thomas M. Monahan Gymnasium in Bristol.
Eastern (4-5) lost three straight games since going 4-2; but in this one against Enfield (3-4), cold shooting did-in the home team and playing catch-up was the only option that evening.
It was a tactic that failed as Eastern shot 16-percent from the field by halftime and 23-percent overall for the game.
“I think that shot selection was a product of our lack of execution,” said Eastern coach Bunty Ray. “I think we were kind of hoping shots would go in with just prayers. We really didn’t move the ball very well. There were some easy looks, some easy open looks we didn’t get. That would have been nice but that’s basketball. You still have to do it on the defensive end a little bit. I think the turnovers led to run-outs [for Enfield].”
Balanced scoring was Enfield’s calling card as Kyle Menaker drained a game-high 20 points while Christian Pasini and Matt Santy each kicked in 10.
Ty Calloway and Will Freeman added nine points apiece as the Eagles had several answers, both offensively and defensively, during the Central Connecticut Conference crossover event.
But the Eagles’ defense led Eastern to shoot quickly and the full-court pressure was just enough of a nuance to force turnovers, 21 overall by the Lancers.
“Their record’s deceiving and they play in the toughest conference of the CCC,” said Ray of Enfield. “I knew that coming in but with that being said, I really thought we’d be able to make some shots and dig in. Their 2-3 zone was something we’d should have been able to handle.”
“We just had a bad shooting night.”
Jahcyrus Bynum scored 17 points and grabbed five rebounds for Eastern while Elijah Parent dropped in 11 points, two rebounds, and three assists off the bench.
Jordyn Tate slashed in six points and six rebounds, Brendon Gayle added five points and a team-high eight rebounds, Bryce Curtin netted four points and three rebounds, Trini Otero had three points and four rebounds while Dylan Woodsome nabbed three rebounds.
Also coming off the bench, and playing well, was Matt D’Amato who scored a hoop, nabbed six rebounds — four on the offensive end which was a team-high — and dished out two assists.
“He’s just got to get himself going a little bit,” said Ray of D’Amato. “I played a lot of guys tonight. I’m just looking for answers. Some of those combinations was just me reaching at the end out of frustration. I didn’t think I did a very good job either. I’m not going to put it totally on the kids.”
“I’ve got to do a better job of putting them in a position to be successful.”
Ben Chiasson, Drew Fries, Tyler Donahue, and Ryan Fradette all saw minutes for the Lancers.
Even though Enfield got out to a big lead, poor shooting by the squad saw the game just a two possession affair at 6-0 with about five minutes gone in the contest.
Eastern went 0-for-12 from the field to open play and made just 2-of-15 shots overall in the first period.
“In the beginning, it was kind of like both teams weren’t doing anything,” said Ray. “All of a sudden, [Enfield] got a couple easy ones where we can’t force turnovers and get easy baskets.”
Trailing 15-0, the Lancers ended the first period with a 6-2 run and when D’Amato flashed in an offensive rebound and put-back, it was a 17-6 game and Enfield was in control.
A Curtin hoop and a three by Tate trimmed the deficit to 21-11 with 6:51 left to play in the first half but missed shots continued to pile up as Eastern did not get any closer before the end of the half, absorbing a 30-15 halftime deficit.
The Lancers never quit and when Bynum dumped in a three-pointer with 5:49 remaining in the third frame, Eastern was hanging around but trailing 33-21.
However, Enfield blew up the showdown via a huge 24-6 burst and by the completion of three quarters, the visitors were in charge and leading by thirty, 57-27.
“Tonight, we were just out of sorts,” said Ray. “We didn’t have any answers. We didn’t execute. That [leads to] a lopsided game.”
Enfield stretched out its lead to 66-32 with 5:00 left but the Lancers, finally getting into an offense flow, ended the contest with a 16-6 run as Parent canned six straight free throws to finish the scoring.
In the end, Eastern fell by 24 points with a contest at Berlin on tap for Tuesday, Jan. 15.
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