Assessing Blue Devils’ status in winter sports

August 15, 2014

By MICHAEL LETENDRE
STAFF WRITER
PLAINVILLE – This week, the Plainville Observer takes a critical look at the recent winter scholastic campaign with eye on the school’s ability to compete in the Central Connecticut Conference.
It’s a fair question as Plainville is usually placed in-between bigger schools.
Last week, the 2013 fall scholastic seasons were diagnosed and there were many compelling reasons for Plainville getting out of the CCC and moving somewhere else.
But, looking at the boys soccer and cross country teams, there are just as many interesting and compelling arguments to stay put in the CCC.
Would a simple realignment of the CCC do the trick or does Plainville need to breakaway from the division entirely?
Let’s continue with our jaunt through the recently completed winter campaign and see if that question can be anymore answered:
 
Winter Sports offered by the CCC: Nine
Winter Sports Plainville participates in: Five
Winter Sports Plainville does not participate in: Gymnastics (not too many small schools do), ice hockey, boys and girls indoor track.
 
Here’s a quick look at the sports Plainville high school participated in and the results from last season:
 
BOYS
BASKETBALL
Regular Season Record (2013-14):  3-17 overall, 3-15 against teams from the CCC
Wins against: Plainville defeated Platt (62-56, OT), Bristol Eastern (45-43) and Fermi up in Enfield (57-50). None of those schools were state tournament qualifiers.
CCC South Ledger: Plainville went 2-12 in CCC South play.
Class M Tournament: Plainville did not participate in the Class M tournament in 2013-2014.
All-Conference: Junior Austin Butler (dumped in a career high 31 points against Bristol Central. If he’s around next year, Butler is the key to Plainville’s fortunes).
Quick Take of the Season: It was a grind as it normally is in Plainville when most of the players pick up a basketball for the first time after the conclusion of football and soccer season [after Thanksgiving]. In the CCC, that spells doom and demise with most of the other squads playing in serious summer and fall leagues. The two home wins were big, though, and the Blue Devils were certainly more than competitive in several games year despite the overall record. Even with a new coach taking the reins this coming season, the Blue Devils still have to face seven CCC South schools that are all bigger than Plainville.
 
GIRLS
BASKETBALL
Regular Season Record (2013-14):  13-8 overall, 12-6 against teams from the CCC
Wins against: Plainville defeated the likes of tournament qualifier Bristol Central (twice), Southington (44-41), Berlin (twice), and just missed out on hanging losses on both Middletown and Bristol Eastern this past season.
CCC South Ledger: Plainville won an impressive 10 games in CCC South play, going 10-4 overall for third place and finished just three games out of first place (Bristol Eastern went 13-1).
Class M Tournament: Plainville earned a home seed in the Class M fray, earning the 15th spot but fell to a very good (rebounding) team from Stonington, 54-48.
All-Conference: Senior Kelsey Clemens easily made the CCC South All Conference team (again). She also surpassed the 1,000-point barrier for her career as a Blue Devil.
CCC Tournament Score: Probably would have played in the tourney; the weather foiled Plainville’s chances as the 16-team field shrunk to eight. Tolland was the eighth rated team in the tournament, going 13-5 overall in CCC games.
Quick Take of the Season: This squad has taken the imprint of its outstanding coach and is competitive against any and all comers. Former Providence College standout Jen Gombotz has built up a winner over the years and this team continues to impress with an outstanding defense and a scrappy mentality which leads to wins. When your squad beats Southington, throw the Class M designation out the window. The Blue Devils were 12-6 in CCC division action and that ledger speaks volumes of where the program has come from. And in CCC South play, two of Plainville’s four losses this season were by just seven points or less. This is a program that says “who cares” when it comes to the competition…this squad will compete with anyone on any given day and can win.  
 
CHEERLEADING
TOURNAMENT RESULTS 2013-2014:
 Overall: Southington
North: East Hartford, Runner-up Windsor.
South: Plainville, runner-up Berlin.
East: Rocky Hill, runner-up Tolland.
West: Southington, runner-up Conard.
 
All-Conference: Plainville’s Isabella Donahue made the All-Conference team in the CCC South (probably should have had more members make the CCC south squad…one CCC south school that didn’t finish in the top two in the division had FOUR girls make the team).
Quick Take of the Season: Now here’s something to cheer about. This squad simply put it all together and took home a CCC South championship despite being one of the smallest schools in the division. The cheerleading team was outstanding and was the class of the all the winter sports.

WRESTLING
Regular Season Record (2013-14):  4-10 overall this past winter
Wins against: Plainville had success in several weekend tournaments, especially against teams that were the same size as the Blue Devils.
CCC South Ledger: Plainville did not win a match in league showdowns.
Class M Tournament: Plainville placed 14th overall at the Class S meet with 60 total points.
All-Conference: Dylan Fusco earned the CCC South All-Conference nod for the Blue Devils.
Quick Take of the Season: It’s impossible to compete against Bristol Central and Eastern on the mats as those two giants are the class of the CCC South, year in and year out. Those bigger programs are so far from Plainville’s growing wrestling team, it truly is an unfair match-up. The Blue Devils have some up and coming numbers but even when Maloney or Middletown comes to town, Plainville just can’t match up. If there’s one program that screams for realignment, the wrestling program certainly comes to mind. There’s no reason Plainville shouldn’t be in a wrestling division with schools like Rocky Hill, East Catholic and the like. Or, just go somewhere else (NCCC).
 
BOYS
SWIMMING
Regular Season Record (2013-14): 0-13 overall (well, really, Plainville won two meets).
Class M Tournament: Plainville finished a very respectable 13th in the Class M tournament in 2013-2014.
Quick Take of the Season: It was a tough season but, once again, the Blue Devils were thrown in there with the giants of the CCC and that’s a tough task for one of the smallest schools in all the division. Again, a division that housed East Catholic, Northwest Catholic (haven’t we been there and done that with those two teams before?) and Rocky Hill would seem to make sense in this case. Bristol gets to group all three of its high schools onto one squad. How can Plainville stack up to that?
 
Quick Summary: Just like last week, let’s add up all of the sports program’s win/loss totals and see where we’re at with the math:
Squad  Wins Loss Ties  Totals
Boys Basketball 3 17 0  20
Girls Basketball 13 8 0  21
Wrestling  4 10 0  14
Boys Swimming 0 13 0  13
TOTALS:  20 48 0  68
Winning Percentage: Less than 30 percent for the scholastic winter season (29.4 percent).
Conclusion: Frankly, Plainville was out-gunned and out-matched from the start in the winter months because of the Class L and Class LL giants that had to be battled on a nightly basis outside of girls hoop. Is there a glaring need to get out of the CCC after looking at the fall and winter campaigns after looking at some final results?
Next Week: The spring campaigns are up in next week’s edition.

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