DERBY – The Bristol Eastern boys basketball squad dropped its final game of the unofficial Central Connecticut Conference/Naugatuck Valley League challenge on Saturday, Feb. 9 with a 51-31 loss to Derby on the road on.
The Lancers (4-13) ended up going 2-1 against both Derby and Watertown this season but in the rematch against the Red Raiders, Eastern shot less than 27-percent from the field while Derby (8-12) fed off those misses, putting points up on the scoreboard and seizing ultimate control of the showdown.
“Once again, it sounds like a broken record. Our bad offense always leads to other teams run-outs that creates offense for them,” said Eastern coach Bunty Ray. “And there comes the energy and now you’re down on the road.
“And that’s where you don’t want to be [is] down on the road.”
Derby’s Jahwan Cody led all players with 15 points; Shymar Robinson added nine; Davont Addison scored 10 and Monte Peppers tallied eight over a balanced scoring attack.
With the victory, the Red Raiders (8-12) qualified for state tournament play.
Elijah Parent had a very good game for Eastern with a team-high 10 points; nabbing a career-high four rebounds while dishing out five assists.
Parent canned both his free throws in the game, continuing a streak of 25 straight foul shots to date, and shooting those at an amazing 96-percent clip for the season.
Carter Dziedzic was hounded the entire game, hitting for eight points and four rebounds; Trini Otero came off the bench for six points while Jordyn Tate added five points to the effort.
Bryce Curtin scooped in seven rebounds, Tyler Donohue made his first scholastic start and collected three rebounds, Dylan Woodsome had four rebounds and a couple of assists, Isaac Dubay nabbed three rebounds and a career-high two steals, Elijah Borgelin dished out two assists while Drew Fries, Ben Chiasson, Matt D’Amato and Ryan Fradette all saw floor time.
“If you look at our record, you have to give our young guys minutes,” said Ray. “You’ve got to build at this point. You’re not going to sink everybody but we were young to begin with. Everybody had these minutes anyway.”
It was the 11th consecutive loss for the Eastern program – ending the possibility of a state tournament bid after a promising 4-2 start to the season.
Twenty-one turnovers didn’t help the Eastern cause and when driving lanes were shut down, the Lancers looked outside to score but managed only one three-pointer on the afternoon.
“We just couldn’t get anything going to the basket,” said Ray. “Carter’s not being able to make plays for us so everything right now is kind of spiraling.”
Eastern made a game of it early as a jumper from Parent gave the squad a 6-5 lead with 4:24 to go in first period play.
But the visitors didn’t score again in the frame as a 14-0 Derby run – including five straight points from Addison – made it a 19-6 game through one quarter of action.
A mini 7-2 Lancers’ run midway through the second quarter saw Tate can a 3 and Otero hit two hoops and with 2:40 left before the half, Derby’s lead was chopped to 23-15.
The Red Raiders took a 29-17 cushion into the third period and expanded it to 16 twice before a hoop by Parent and free throws from Otero cut the deficit to 35-23 with 1:14 to play in the tilt.
To open the fourth, Parent hit a floater as Eastern was hanging around – trailing by 11 – but a 13-2 Derby run did-in the visitors as it was a 49-27 game with three minutes to play.
To end the contest, Parent scored four points but the Red Raiders won the affair by 20, 51-31.
“The state that we’re in right now, I’m trying to get some younger guys experience,” said Ray. “But unfortunately when you do that, it gets overwhelming. It’s going to be a real test of their character because the things that they are going to be able to do at the lower levels, they’re not going to get away with here.”
“Hopefully, it’s a wake-up call for them on what they need to do, how they need to function but it’s kind of a baptism but fire and it’s a necessity right now.”
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Michael Letendre, email him at MLetendre@BristolObserver.com.