By MICHAEL LETENDRE
WETHERSFIELD – With a generous slate of home games left on its schedule, the Bristol Eastern girls basketball team ended its road portion of the 2018-19 campaign with yet another victorious effort.
On Monday, Feb. 4, the Lancers picked up a Central Connecticut Conference interdivisional win over Wethersfield, downing the squad by a 65-56 final.
Eastern, via the victory over Wethersfield and then Plainville days later, won for the 11th time this season (11-7) and was on a bit of a hot streak.
The Lancers have won eight of 10 games – posting just a 65-61 overtime loss at Middletown while absorbing a 68-48 defeat at Glastonbury though the Lancers were trailing by only two points with 10 minutes to go.
Eastern had to withstand all the elements against the Eagles and that meant the fury of outstanding guard Nicole Gwynn as the mini microwave heated up for 17 points.
Isabella Samse nabbed a team-high 19 points while Alice Kelly chipped in with 14 for Wethersfield.
However, the trio couldn’t figure out the Lancers’ defense late – scoring just seven fourth period points – as Eastern held the advantage for most of the second half.
And Eastern turned some of the 28 Wethersfield turnovers into points and buckets.
The Lancers turned to its strong – and healthy – eight-man rotation and had contributions up and down the line-up.
Ciara Collins scored a game-high 20 points and the freshmen also nabbed six rebounds and dished out five assists.
Jordan Ouellette continued her strong campaign with 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and three steals while teammate Avery Arbuckle returned to the starting line-up and nearly provided a double-double (eight points, nine rebounds) while rejecting three shots.
Sage Scarritt hit another three-pointer on her way to seven points, eight rebounds, and three steals while Paige McLaughlin canned a 3 during an important second period run.
She also added four rebounds and a steal to the winning effort.
Off the pine, Cali Doyon netted six points, two rebounds, and two assists, Meredith Forman added four points, three rebounds and two steals and Julia Gettings also saw time during the game.
It was a back-and-forth first period with Doyon and Gwynn exchanging steals and hoops while Collins hit a three to keep it a tight game.
But after eight minutes of work, Wethersfield held a 15-12 push and increased that edge to eight points moments later.
The Eagles led 20-12 early in the second tilt but a 19-8 run by the Lancers saw the visitors tally a three-point halftime lead.
Scarritt and McLaughlin dropped in three-pointers during the run while a jumper by Arbuckle eventually allowed Eastern to take a 31-28 edge into the locker room.
Wethersfield hung around, getting a huge four-point play by Kelly, but Eastern continue to fight and kept putting the ball in the hoop.
Collins had a three-point play to make it a 50-45 game late in the third frame but two quick Wethersfield hoops closed the gap to one (50-49) with eight minutes to play.
And the Lancers ran away with it late, ending the contest with a 15-5 run.
Ouellette canned two late hoops and even off a lay-up from Gwynn with 39.1 seconds left, Eastern was still in charge by a 60-56 push. Wethersfield did not score in the game again, giving the victory to the Lancers.
Then it was Plainville’s turn on Thursday, Feb. 7 and in a romp, the Lancers defeated the Blue Devils 71-47 from the Thomas M. Monahan Gymnasium in Bristol.
Ouellette came through with a big performance as her 24 points led all scorers.
Collins added 14 points to the winning effort while McLaughlin scored eight.
Forman had seven, Scarritt chipped in with six, while Maura McGuire added a season-high five points.
For the Blue Devils, who did not outscore Eastern in any of the four quarters, Jaida Vasquez led the squad with 18 points.
High scoring Caitlin Barker kicked in 10 points while Krystina Miller added nine to the losing effort.
Eastern scored 19 points over each of the first three quarters and took a 38-24 cushion into halftime.