By MICHAEL LETENDRE
MONTVILLE – Dropping a tough 42-35 decision to Montville in the first round of the Class M state tournament was not the way the Plainville girls basketball team wanted to finish out its 2012-13 campaign.
The Blue Devils, a team used to lengthy postseason runs, might have been disappointed with its finish but for the 26th rated team in the fray, Plainville was playing with house money on enemy territory and almost pulled off a tremendous upset.
No. 7 Montville hung on – watching its 17-point lead dwindle all the way to five – and had to sweat it out all the way to the end.
Two days later, a tired Montville squad needed overtime to knockoff number No. 10 Trinity Catholic 52-49 and after nearly getting knocked out by Plainville, the Indians had to once again hold on for dear life.
And you can give Plainville some partial credit for that one.
Montville shot around 28-percent for the game against the Blue Devils and some of Plainville’s senior core needs to be recognized for that effort.
Kelly Slabinski was a pest every second on the court at Montville and that’s the ways she’s always played since she first stepped on the court of the Ivan Wood Gymnasium.
“Kelly, with her defense, kept us in a lot of situations” this year said Plainville coach Micowski of Slabinski.
Along with Slabinski at guard, Carly Martino was also a menace on the hardwood at all times and when she started hitting shots against Montville, the home team knew it was in trouble.
Martino wasn’t one of the biggest guards in the CCC South this season but she knew where to be on the court plus, she always showed the willingness and ability to hit a game-tying shot or a big three-point bomb.
“Carly with her defense and outside shot was always a good threat,” said Micowski of Martino.
And then fellow senior Katy Dressel, fighting foul trouble and a 6-foot-2 giant in her final game against Montville, just kept banging and banging and banging away on the opponents.
In that contest against Montville, a frustrated Cassidy Bundy fouled out with just less than six minutes left to play.
That disqualification made a huge difference in the game and that’s the tenacity she’s shown all season long on the hardwood and at the net in volleyball.
“Kate is one of the toughest players I’ve seen get banged around in the post and still get up and get down the other end,” said Micowski of Dressel.
That’s what senior leadership was all about and throw in Abby Negro and Sarah Caron into that senior mix, that circle was complete.
And give Plainville credit as a slow start to the season didn’t hurt the team in the least.
The Blue Devils started the campaign in a 0-3 hole but then won six out of its next nine games and Plainville settled in quite nicely.
A 10-10 finish in a very competitive CCC South division wasn’t too shabby either.
In its final game in the state tournament, the Blue Devils battled until the end and, once again, made its coach very proud when the final horn sounded.
“They definitely battled and didn’t pack it in,” said Micowski. “I’m very proud of them for that.”
Plainville will return several key contributors as Kelsey Clemens, Deja Nolan, Stephanie Martino, and Rachel Lancaster will make up part of the unit the Blue Devils will be counting on next season.
Comments? Email mletendre@BristolObserver.com.