By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – With the Plainville girls basketball team dropping a tough 53-47 decision to Middletown on Tuesday, Feb. 4, the race for the CCC South championship is a two-team challenge.
The title will either be picked up by the Blue Dragons or Bristol Eastern – if the trend holds, that is – and one additional loss by either squad should give the other team a straight shot to the CCC South championship.
The Lancers have won eight straight games, and nine out of its last 10, to move to an impressive 11-4 tilt as Eastern dominated Berlin on that same Tuesday and picked up a 61-46 win from the Thomas M. Monahan Gymnasium in Bristol.
Defense ruled the day once again for the Lancers as the Redcoats were limited to only five first quarter points and simply never recovered.
Berlin actually had no chance of recovery as Eastern forward Daijia Brooks blasted the team for a season best 34 points. Over her last eight games – all Eastern victories – the crafty Brooks has averaged 25.4 points-per-game going for 32 or more over her last three.
In those eight wins, she’s tallied no less than 19 points as, clearly, Brooks and the Lancers are on a roll to a big finish.
Jamilla Shoultz added eight points and Gianna D’Amato netted five in the winning effort.
Amanda Zdun, Diana Wnuk, and Miya Lopreste all added four points as another balanced effort led to the victory for Eastern.
For Berlin, Alyssa Germano and Abby Underwood punched in 14 points apiece in the losing effort.
The Redcoats fell to 2-12 on the year and must win its final six games to qualify for state tournament play.
Eastern gave itself a nice cushion early as the Lancers led 14-5 after one period of play and then exploded for 18 points in the second frame, leading to a 32-15 halftime push.
Both teams notched 13 points in the third period of action but still trailing 45-28, time was running out on the Redcoats.
Even as Berlin scored 18 points, mostly against the Lancers’ bench, it was far too late as Eastern zipped up a 15-point home victory.
And then on Friday, Feb. 7, Eastern had its hands full with Plainville but still managed to eke out a 35-28 win the Thomas M. Monahan Gymnasium in Bristol.
The Lancers trailed 11-4 after one period while holding the Blue Devils scoreless in the second.
Plainville took an 11-8 lead into the halftime break and still led 20-19 after three quarters of play.
But Eastern won the final period, 16-8, to take the final quarter and win the fray 35-28.
Brooks zipped in 23 points, leading to the Lancers ninth straight win and a 12-4 ledger.
Kelsey Clemens scored 15 points in the losing effort for Plainville (10-7).
By MICHAEL LETENDRE