MERIDEN — The Platt boys basketball team opened its season at home Saturday night against South Windsor with a late rally that fell just short, 57-56.
Platt senior Tre Carter hit several key shots down the stretch to get the Panthers within striking distance and Malcolm Andrews hit a huge 3-pointer in the closing minute.
Down by one, they had the ball with seven seconds left and a chance to play for the last shot. Inbounding after a timeout, the play Platt had drawn up never materialized and the Panthers never got a shot off.
“It’s a learning process for our guys,” said Platt head coach Shawon Moncrief. “They showed great will to come back. We have to put that last 9-10 minutes into a capsule and create that for the whole 32 minutes.”
Platt got off to a slow start, but compensated with defense and led 13-11 after the opening eight minutes.
In the second quarter, both offenses got going.
For South Windsor, sophomore Justice Ellison had a monster game. He had 15 of his game-high 35 points by halftime, though Platt quited the sophomore with some double teams after his initial surge.
For Platt, Desmond Davis was a primary source of offense throughout the the first half. Davis recorded 12 points in the first half. Platt’s attack was a little more balanced throughout the game.
At the half, Platt trailed 28-27. In the third quarter, Platt’s offense stalled dramatically. The Panthers managed just six points for the quarter.
South Windsor, on the other hand, got Ellison back on track in a new way. Ellison became a major problem in the transition game as the Bobcats kept hitting Ellison on an outlet pass ahead of Platt’s defense. This led to several athletic dunks from the sophomore.
Platt trailed 43-33 heading into the fourth quarter. That’s when Platt’s offense woke up behind an aggressive defense, which caused several South Windsor turnovers that led to easy baskets.
Another factor in Platt’s resurgent fourth quarter were free throws. The Panthers were in the double bonus throughout the fourth quarter.
Carter finished with a team-high 17 points for Platt. Davis had 16.
“Going forward, I see that the kids are capable of playing at a high level on defense and every possession,” said Moncrief. “I see that they’re competitors and that’s all you can ask for — a group of guys who are playing together, competing and with one common goal. That goal is to win basketball games.”