By MICHAEL LETENDRE
PLAINVILLE – Hopefully by the time you read this, the Plainville’s boys basketball team is finally in the win column.
And for the Blue Devils, it will be a welcome sight…and a relief.
It’s been a tough campaign for Plainville as the wins have been elusive and as of Jan. 21, the Blue Devils are 0-11 but are seemingly on the verge of getting that first win.
“They work hard,” said Plainville coach Marc Wesoly of his squad. “One thing we talk about is they (the players) need to go game speed in practice. Do they do that, not all the time and they know that. They’ll be the first ones to admit it. When I say we’re not going game speed, we pick it up a little bit. But at 5 o’clock every day we come in here, it needs to start at 5 o’clock. It can’t be me saying that. It’s called self motivation.”
“As a coach, I try to give that to them but sometimes, you have to (try a little harder).”
Plainville has hung around in a number of games this season and at Platt, the Blue Devils were right in the thick of things before the Panthers snared a 75-65 win for its first victory of the campaign.
But in some games, the first period has been a nightmare for Plainville.
The Blue Devils started in a 20-point hole after one period of play against Farmington, netted only four in the first stanza against Bulkeley while seemingly just not getting that zip to start games this year.
“If you go back and look at our first quarter scores, they’re low,” said Wesoly of the season. “It’s almost like you’ve got to give these guys a Red Bull before the game and maybe they’d come out with a little more energy.”
But this team has talent and it’s that mix that has seemed elusive to date.
Junior Eric Fischer is still producing, getting 14 against Platt on Jan. 11 while three days later, he scooped in 10 against Bristol Central.
He’s a wide target out there that will rebound and block shots.
“That’s what we’ve expected from him in the past,” said Wesoly of Fischer. “We’ve expected him to be that main guy especially with Mike Costantini going down (with an injury). We’re glad he came out of his shell a little bit.”
“We’re still looking for (a little more).”
That’s where those the outside shooting of Matt Thomas and Tyler Favreau comes into play.
Thomas and Favreau will fire from long range while the duo have been the most consistent weapons that team has.
“Matt and Tyler, you can’t say enough about those kids,” said Wesoly. “They wear their hearts on their sleeve no matter what sport it is. You can’t say enough about them. Even Brian Dostaler. The kid works his tail off. He knows the game of basketball very well and you can’t say enough about these kids.”
But, as every one knows, Plainville is a baseball town and with the success of the program, how can you argue the results?
So in the spring, the Thomases, Favreaus, Shane Puglieses and the like are playing on the diamond and in the summer, that baseball at the Legion level continues.
At the larger schools – with a bigger student body – more players equals more athletes that are specializing in certain sports, like basketball and the like.
“These kids don’t have the basketball skills that most Bristol kids have at Bristol Central and Eastern, the Bulkeleys the Middletowns,” said Wesoly. “Those guys play basketball for 12 months. These kids, if they pick up a basketball in the summer, we’re happy.”
All Wesoly would like is that some of those athletes who perform in multiple sports just to grab a basketball every once in a while.
“When Chase (Tarca), Brett (Litke) and Tyler (Wesolowski) were here, they played basketball year round even if the they played other sports,” said Wesoly. “And that’s how we were when I was in school here. Just because it was football season, we still played basketball somewhere.”
Wesoly did say he had 55 kids try out for basketball this year, which was outstanding for the program.
He actually had to make numerous cuts so the program is going in the right direction.