By KEN MORSE
The motto coming into the Plainville girls basketball season this year was “Not done yet.”
That is in reference to what the Lady Blue Devils started last year, reaching four goals that were not obtainable over the last several seasons.
Last year, Plainville won the Rybczyk Holiday Tournament for the first time since 2007, qualified for the Class M state tournament for the first time since 2014, were co-champions of the Patriot Division and made the CCC league tournament.
The Blue Devils saw a season of promise end abruptly with first round losses in the CCC and Class M tournaments. The goal this year is to finish what they started with third year head coach Jessica Neuweiler and assistant coach Katie Mehlhorn coming up with the motto of “Not finished yet.”
Plainville appears to be well on their way winning the Rybczyk Tournament for the second year in a row, the first time that has happened in over a decade. The 6-2 Blue Devils won handily is game one of the tournament taking down Amistad to the tune of a 60-28 victory on Dec 27.
“The big thing for us is we need to figure out how to go out there and give a full 32 minutes,” said Neuweiler. “When we do that we can be very successful.”
In the championship game on Dec 28, Plainville met a little stronger resistance falling behind SMSA by a 16-12 first quarter margin. The Blue and White ramped it up from that point on outscoring the Tigers 26-17 in the second quarter to take a 38-33 lead at the half.
Ever since their last loss a heart breaking 51-49 setback to undefeated Berlin on Dec 20, the Blue Devils have unleashed a relentless offensive attack scoring over 60 points in four straight games.
SMSA couldn’t draw any closer as Plainville pulled out a tight 66-61 victory to win the Holiday Tournament for the second year in a row. Caitlin Barker knocked down a season high 30 points to lead the Blue Devils.
Jaida Vasquez poured in 19 points with Sam Lozefski putting in 16 points. All three scorers were named to the All-Tournament team with Barker being named MVP.
While Plainville is undefeated on the season when all three scorers put up double digits the Blue Devils are showing the kind of diversity that could take them down the stretch of the season.
“The first few minutes are crucial in developing that early flow,” said Neuweiler. “Against Berlin, we struggled through those first few minutes and fell behind. We came out against Amistad and got into a flow immediately and just took over the game from there.”
“The players coming in off the bench are beginning to understand their roles and they are stepping up and giving us quality minutes. That gives us a lot of depth that will only make us a stronger team in the long run.”
The Blue and White had nine players get into the scoring column in the win over Amistad led by Barker with 25 points and Vasquez adding 10 points. Plainville looked unstoppable in the opening quarter as they burst out to an insurmountable 30-7 lead.
Once the game was safely in the win column the rest of the rotation gained plenty of game experience as they put the game away with an 18-4 third quarter. Sydney Ouellette and Kori Jones scored six points each with Tessa Susco chipping in with four points.
Lozefski ( two points, six assists) directed the offense making sure everyone got involved in the flow. Krystyna Miller (three points, eight rebounds) battled on the boards and got help from Elena Gorneault (two points, six rebounds) and Olivia Wazorko (four rebounds) as Plainville controlled the action in the paint.
Vanessa Xiques and Lillian Wazorko (two points) provided valuable minutes off the bench helping to hold Wolves to single digits in each of the first three quarters.
Plainville made it four wins in a row tacking another 60 plus on the scoreboard to start the New Year on Jan 2 in a 65-51 win over Southington. Barker led the way dropping 29 points through the cylinder with Vasquez scoring a season high 22 points.
The Blue Devils will now gear up for a couple of Patriot Division rivals taking on Bristol Central on Friday Jan 4 and they came away with a 51-23 win. Lozefski led the team with 15 points, Barker had 13 points and Susco knocked down 10 points to give Plainville three double digit scorers for the fifth time this season and remain undefeated when they do that. Bristol Eastern is next on Monday Jan 7 and they finish out the week at Tolland on Friday.