Boys Basketball: Blue Devils come of age during OT victory

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Alec Couture drives past a Bulkeley defender

KEN MORSE

CORRESPONDENT

It was there for the taking in the waning moments of regulation on Jan 10 against Platt, but shots from Alec Couture and Louis Passaretti rolled around the rim and out. Instead of clinching the contest in four quarters, the Blue Devils were headed for overtime.

This marked a crucial point in the season for a young Plainville team that didn’t come in with a lot of experience. It showed with the team’s 1-5 record, but something has happened over the first three weeks of the season. The team rose to the occasion in overtime against Platt.

The Blue Devils came out with a determination not found in very many 1-5 inexperienced teams and that enthusiasm caught fire as Plainville owned the extra session by an 8-3 margin to pull out a 65-60 win.

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Brennan Staubley (10 points) and Javan Paradis (17 points) each put down a pair of free throws to get it started, and Paradis went down the lane for a bucket to open up a 64-57 advantage with 1:03 to go. It was the beginning of the end for the Panthers.

“I’m extremely proud of the team,” said Plainville head coach Jim DiNello. “The fact that we were able to keep our poise, execute at key moments, and make good decisions when the game was in the balance shows we have grown some.”

Early on, Plainville struggled as they have all season, falling behind, 8-0, in the opening quarter. The Devils trailed, 23-15, with six minutes left in the half. But something was different about this time as the Blue Devils stormed back with a 13-0 run to grab the halftime lead, 28-25.

Another 13-2 run going into the final quarter wiped out another Platt lead. Paradis scored the final five points in regulation for the Blue Devils and four of the eight points in overtime to lead the team to victory.

“Alec made a bunch of big shots for us,” said DiNello. “Javan had some great assists and made key plays on both ends especially down the stretch. Louis worked hard on the defensive end while Cam and Artem gave us solid minutes off the bench. Brennan and AJ were strong on the boards.”

Couture made sure his team had the chance hitting on six three-pointers for a team high 22 points. Staubley and AJ Lestini (8 points) made their presence felt on the boards with Cameron Lamothe (4 points) and Artem Mojica (2 points) playing solid minutes off the bench.

“The boys deserve a ton of credit for bouncing back the way they did after a tough loss to BC,” said DiNello. “We still have a long way to go but this was certainly a positive step forward.”

Only once this season did Plainville get out of the first quarter with the lead, and that will be one of the things they will need to address. The Blue Devils outscored Bulkeley, 15-9, in the second quarter of its game on Jan 3 but were done in by an 11-6 first quarter deficit. The Devils missed their first nine shots of the game, shooting 3 of 14 from the floor in the opening quarter.

That inconsistency crept into their game and the Blue Devils fell by a 59-47 margin in a contest they trailed by just four points with 1:38 to go before allowing an 8-0 run to close it out. Lestini led the way against Bulkeley with 14 points and six rebounds. Couture added 10 points with Omar Miller and Paradis adding 9 points each.

Miller led Plainville with 16 points in a 68-40 loss to Bristol Central on Jan 7. The Rams busted out to a 19-8 first quarter lead and then slammed the door with a 21-4 third quarter advantage.

Plainville (2-5) is back in action this week at home to Middletown on Monday Jan 13 and hosting Hall on Thursday with both games scheduled for 6:45 starts.