By KEN MORSE
The Plainville girls basketball season came to an end last Monday in a Class M first round loss to Weston 60-43. The Lady Blue Devils the No. 24 seed traveled to Weston to take on the No. 9 seed Trojans and fell behind 18-10 in the first quarter.
The hour and a half bus ride took its toll as Plainville trailed 35-22 at the half. The Blue Devils battled back in the third quarter and got the lead down to six at one point.
Plainville was looking at a 49-38 deficit heading into the fourth quarter but ran out of gas putting up just five points in the final stanza. The Blue Devils concluded the season at 11-11 but along the way came accomplishments that bodes well for the future of the program under head coach Jessica Neuweiler and assistant coach Katie Mehlhorn.
“We looked a little tired,” said Neuweiler. “It was a long ride but I’m proud of our effort. We did get the lead down to six at one point but in the end Weston was a very good team and deserved to move on.”
“We had a good strategy going in to compete with Weston. But too many turnovers got us behind. But we did battle back and we have done that all season. We had to play man-to-man trying to take advantage of every possession and that took a lot out of us.”
Junior Caitlin Barker came away with 22 points and freshman Jaida Vasquez added 10 points to lead the Blue Devils attack.
Playing in the post season may have been a team goal coming into the season but after going 8-35 over the past two seasons the Blue Devils had a real challenge on their hands.
Senior captains Isabel Lozefski, Amiyah Peters, and Meghan Guimond rallied the rest of the team after dropping the season opener to New Britain. The young Blue Devils responded with a five game winning streak and suddenly some of the goals that were set were beginning to come into focus.
“Going into the season we set some pretty high goals,” said Neuweiler. “Looking back on the season the word I would use to describe the team is progress. As a program we made some phenomenal strides this year.”
“We set out to win our holiday tournament and we did that for the first time since 2007. We wanted to make the state tournament and we did that and we wanted to qualify for the CCC tournament and we achieved that.”
“One thing we did that we didn’t even talk about was being the co-champions of the division. My final talk with them after the Weston game to reflect on all that they accomplished after going 5-15 last year.”
Barker set the tone scoring an average of 20 points per game and Isabel Lozefski was at nine points per game and both made the All-CCC Patriot Division South team. Junior Samantha Lozefski helped to stabilize the lineup adding another experienced player out on the court.
But for the most part, the Blue Devils were young with sophomores Olivia Wazorko and Vanessa Xiques playing varsity minutes along with a very talented group of freshman that rounded out the lineup.
Freshman Vazquez took on the role of point guard and went on to score an average of nine points per game and hauled in an average of six rebounds. Freshmen Kori Jones and Krystyna Miller helped to establish an inside presence with freshman Tessa Susco showing her defensive skills while finding her way into the scoring column.
“The girls should feel very proud of what they were able to achieve,” said Neuweiler. “Going into next season now it’s not just about competing. Just getting to where we’ve been is no longer enough. Now, we need to take it to the next level.”
“As a team, we have the talent to do that and we are no longer an inexperienced team. We are losing some big shoes to fill. Izzy was also our vocal leader on the floor. Amiyah had a tremendous work ethic as did all of our seniors. We have to see who is going to step up and take on those roles next season.”
“Jaida was thrown in there as a freshman and her potential and her development is going to be exciting to see. Caitlin had a fantastic year coming back from an ACL and will definitely be a leader for us next year.”
“Kori and Krystyna didn’t play like freshman. They contributed every time they were on the court. I’m excited about the foundation that we started and seeing what we can do next year.”