Rams hold off Spartans, 53-41

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BURLINGTON – In front of a packed crowd from the “Thunderdome” at Lewis Mills High School in Burlington, the Bristol Central boys basketball team took care of business in its first ever road game against the Spartans as CCC South opponents.

A critical 17-10 scoring burst over the third quarter gave the Rams just enough cushion to hold off Lewis Mills as Central nabbed a big 53-41 win in a Patriot division showdown.

The Rams (10-2) haven’t lost a game since dropping a tough 54-36 decision to New Britain on Jan. 3 and rolled right into some of its biggest road games of the year with plenty of momentum.

Central had won nine of its past 10 games going into the contest against scrappy Mills (3-8), a team that was playing much better as of late.

Mills closed a double-digit deficit late but simply couldn’t get over the hump.

And the Spartans had a big problem to deal with in the form of Central’s Donovan Clingan who led all players with 34 points.

The 34 points were a season-high for the big man who ended the showdown with 15 field goals and four charity shots.

By the completion of the contest, Clingan had increased his scoring average to a career-high 23.5 points-per-game.

He also had three critical dunks down the stretch to stave off hungry Lewis Mills.

Austin Brown returned to the Central line-up to post eight points while Sean Wininger had four.

Victor Rosa, Damion Glasper, Mike Lorenzetti, and D’Ante Ross all added something offensively to the winning effort.

Mills canned seven three-pointers – after hitting 12 the first time around against Central – but the program, while showing balance, did not produce a double-figure scorer.

James Nestor, Matt Geissler, and Logan Cowger all notched eight points for the home team.

The Rams were held to just 23 points at the half but it was good enough for a two-possession edge when intermission rolled around

Central outscored Mills 11-6 over first period play and while both programs tallied 12 second quarter points, the Rams held a 23-18 push at the half.

The visitors allowed the Spartans just 10 third period points as the Rams held a 40-28 cushion with eight minutes remaining.

Mills had a real shot towards the end of the contest to get within a few points but Central, and Clingan’s late dunks, staved off the Spartans to win by 12.

NOTES…Central dropped a tough 70-31 decision at East Catholic on Thursday, Jan. 30 – falling to one of the state’s best squads…

Clingan and Ross led the Rams with 10 points apiece…

The Rams’ fell to 10-3 overall with games at Windsor and Middletown on the horizon.

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