By MICHAEL LETENDRE
WETHERSFIELD – Fresh off an 2-0 start to its campaign, the Bristol Central girls basketball team was looking for its first 3-0 push in quite some time.
And in a CCC Interdivisional game against Wethersfield, the Rams hung tough with a small yet talented shooting group on the road.
Central had the lead after one period, quickly lost that advantage, and played catch up for the rest of the contest.
However, the Rams never tasted the lead again as Wethersfield took home a 44-38 victory on Friday, Dec. 17.
With the victory, the Eagles evened its record to 2-2 on the campaign while Central fell for the first time all year and moved to 2-1.
It was the poorest showing by the Rams to date as every shot, every rebound, every loose ball, and every big hoop belonged to the Eagles.
“They outworked us,” said Central coach Steve Gaudet of Wethersfield. “They pushed us around. They were more physical than us. They out-hustled us. That’s as poor an effort we’ve had all year. In practice, in a scrimmage, in a game…that’s as poor an effort mentally, physically, all of the above (this season).”
Two instances highlighted those mental lapses that cost the Rams dearly.
At the end of the first half, Wethersfield missed a baseline bucket but Central did not bother to chase the ball down.
But Carrie Polomsky (game-high 17 points) sprinted after it, snagged the ball at the corner of the court, tossed up a desperation three-pointer, and cleanly found the bottom of the net that led to the Eagles’ 23-13 push at the half.
The Rams, however, battled back in the second half and cut the deficit to five with just over one minute left in the game.
Off the first shot of a one-and-one situation for the Eagles, Lauren Glendon missed but Central did not go for the rebound.
The Rams just stayed in their foul line shooter positions while the Eagles quickly threw up a shot but missed.
Again, Central did not make an attempt to go after the ball and off the offensive rebound, the Eagles sunk a hoop and the Rams were trailed 41-34 with 1:01 remaining.
“Our heads were not in the game at all,” said Gaudet. “And you can put that on me. It’s my fault. We weren’t into this game and I’ve got to do a better job preparing us.”
No player scored in double figures for Central, but the squad had more than a couple solid performances in the losing effort.
Central’s Chandler Walker led the Rams with nine points, a big 17 rebounds, two blocks and two steals in a solid performance that saw the player suffer a leg cramp while getting poked in the eye, both of which slowed her down a bit.
Ashley Elder added nine points, five rebounds and three steals, while Lauren Bossi chipped in six points, eight rebounds, and two steals.
Erika Monsalve also scored six points and snatched three rebounds while Gretchen Edelman squared in six points, four rebounds, three assists, and made three steals.
Along with Polomsky’s three-point shooting barrage, Wethersfield made a total of seven treys in the game and that long range marksmanship made a huge difference in the showdown.
Glendon scored eight for the Eagles – hitting two threes – as a balanced scoring attack paced the home club.
The lead changed hands four times in the first period between the schools and Elder finished it with a blazing three-pointer as Central led 9-8 after one period of action.
But Polomsky came to life, hitting three-pointers, and causing havoc all over the floor during the second frame.
Central scored only twice in the frame as hoops by Bossi and Walker found their marks but off the four points, the Rams fell behind at the half by double figures.
And then the Polomsky three-point bomb at the buzzer was a dagger of epic proportions and kind of symbolized how things were going for the Rams in the first half.
“(Polomsky) killed us,” said Gaudet. “She hit some huge three-pointers. She hit four three-pointers in the first half, hit some runners. She was a good lefty.”
Central didn’t quit and as the third period commenced, the Rams went on a quick 8-0 run to almost reclaim the lead.
Bossi hit a quick lay-up off a nice feed by Edelman, Monsalve hit back-to-back hoops and Walker laid a shot in as Central trailed by only two at 23-21 with 6:15 left in the third tilt.
However, Central wouldn’t get any closer than three points the rest of the way as Wethersfield stretched its lead to eight late in the period.
But off a steal and lay up from Bossi, Central trailed by only six at 33-27 at the completion of three quarters.
In the fourth, Wethersfield built its lead back up to 10 points but the Rams took one last crack at it.
Central went on a 5-0 jaunt as a basket by Edelman, a charity toss by Walker, and two free throws from Jenn Fannon cut the deficit to 39-34 late in the period.
But off the bungled one-and-one rebounding opportunity with 1:01 left in the game, Wethersfield stopped Central’s run and the Eagles kept it a two-possession game the rest of the way until the final horn sounded.
“They got every loose ball” said Gaudet of Wethersfield. “When you don’t get any loose balls and you make mental mistakes and lose by only six points, that tells you (something).”
By MICHAEL LETENDRE