Riding the storm out

By KEN MORSE

CORRESPONDENT

The one thing that winning has in common is it makes the hill a little stepper. The Plainville girls basketball team got off to a fast start achieving some goals they haven’t reached in quite some time.

That’s when the hill got a little stepper. The Lady Blue Devils have hit that bump in the road that will test the mettle of any team that has ever graced the aches and pains of competition.

Over the past few weeks, Plainville has dropped six of the last seven contests. Are the wheels about to come off the wagon? Not according to head coach Jessica Neuweiler, even after the Blue Devils dropped three games last week making it four straight losses in a row.

“We have faced some tough teams that play strong defense,” said Neuweiler. “We were just getting back to full strength getting over some injuries and then we got hit with the flu bug.”

Plainville showed just how tough they are when they took on 12-3 Windsor two weeks ago and fell behind early down 11-1. The Lady Blue Devils can be a little tough in their own right as they battled back to take a 22-15 halftime lead holding Windsor to just four points in the second quarter.

Isabel Lozefski hit a shot at the end of regulation to send the game to overtime. Windsor hit a three-pointer with time running out in the extra session to pull out a 51-48 win. Caitlin Barker led the Blue Devils with 18 points, Isabel Lozefski added 12 points and Jaida Vasquez contributed 10 points.

Plainville suffered a tough loss to Platt last Monday 64-57 in a game that appeared to be heading towards the win column. The 8-7 Panthers proved to be a handful early on battling the Blue Devils and taking a 14-12 lead after the first quarter.

Barker led the way with 24 points, Vasquez added 13 points and Isabel Lozefski added 10 points.

The Blue and White got a bit of a scare when Barker limped off the court after a knee to knee contact with 3:14 left in the opening quarter. Platt appeared to have the momentum until Barker came back out at the start of the second quarter.

“Anytime you have someone coming off a major injury like that when there is knee contact there is some concern. Caitlin did bounce back and was able to shake it off finishing the game really strong for us.”

“There is also the mental aspect of getting over an injury like that and she has played fearlessly and it’s easier said than done. She has done a great job for us this season.”

Plainville showed they didn’t win nine games by accident as they came out and took control of the game turning a 20-6 second quarter flurry into a comfortable 32-20 halftime advantage.

But when the Blue Devils came out in the second half it seems they left some of that tenacity in the locker room as Platt took off on a 13-0 run and went on to outscore Plainville 26-13 in the quarter.

Platt held a 46-45 lead into the final quarter. Kori Jones (5 points, 5 rebounds) and Krystyna Miller battled on the boards for the Blue Devils and Plainville took its last lead 51-50 when Amiyah Peters hit a shot from the top of the key and Barker went down the lane for two with 5:10 reaming.

Platt took over the game hitting six straight foul shots and kept it a two possessions game down the stretch.

“We are still fighting for a spot in the CCC,” said Neuweiler. “We are hoping to pick up a few more wins going down the stretch to help our standings in the states, as well.”

“The Platt loss was very tough for us. It wasn’t a good loss because we had the opportunity to take over that game and we didn’t. I told all the players we are going to need someone to step up now that we have two significant players Caitlin Barker and Sam Lozefski out with the flu.”

Plainville dropped a 62-46 decision to Middletown last Thursday in a game that saw Vasquez and Isabel Lozefski both hit for 20 points each.

“Caitlin generates a lot of points for our offense and I was pleased to see Jaida step up and give us 20 points. Isabel, a senior leader, stepping up to give us 20. She has an unbelievable sense to find the basket when it comes to offense. The game against Middletown was her best game of the season and we needed that.”

“But we had two players generating 40 out of our 46 points and we are going to need a little more than that to be successful. Unfortunately, we strung together a couple of losses here and going into the last three games we need to continue to look ahead.”

Last Friday, the offense struggled in a 38-20 loss to Berlin. Isabel Lozefski led the way with eight points but the Blue Devils managed just four points in the second half and will need to ramp up the offense to give them a chance over the final three games of the regular season.

“We can’t go back and do anything about what has already transpired we need to just keep our focus and continue to look ahead. There are still some things we want to achieve and we need to take it one game at a time.”

Plainville will be at Hall on Tuesday and finish out the week at Bristol Central on Friday. Next Wednesday will be the final game of the regular season and the Blue Devils will celebrate senior night against Sacred Heart Academy.

Comments? Email mchaiken@BristolObserver.com.

Plainville High School’s Jaida Vasquez drives to the basket against Platt. (PHOTO by KEN MORSE)

(PHOTO by KEN MORSE)