MERIDEN — Discipline and efficiency were what the Southington boys basketball team showed on Tuesday night. The Blue Knights displayed both at each end of the floor in a runaway 69-43 CCC crossover victory over host Platt.
The Blue Knights stifled the Panthers defensively and solved Platt’s full-court press, often times beating Platt down the floor for layups.
The high-percentage looks added up to the Southington offense shooting 54 percent (31-for-57) from the field.
The Blue Knights performed with a balanced attack. They put four players in double digits, led by senior forward Adam Hunter’s 16 points.
Hunter was followed by fellow big man Bill Wadolowski, who had 15 points. Ryan Gesnaldo (14) and Jared Kelly (10) also reached double figures for Southington, which improved to 6-6 on the season.
This is the first time this year the Blue Knights have won consecutive games. They defeated Northwest Catholic 54-46 on Friday.
“We were fortunate to play three consective teams with similar styles,” Southington coach John Cessario said. “Talk about a dress rehearsal, playing Bloomfield and Northwest Catholic. Against these teams, you need to handle pressure. By Game 3 against this style of play we were very proficient and very efficient, and we wanted to score inside as much as possible. Knowing how small we are supposed to be, you can still score inside.”
Southington pushed its way to a healthy 39-16 halftime advantage. The Blue Knights’ disciplined zone defense held Platt to 6-for-26 shooting in the opening half.
Meanwhile, the Blue Knights were converting in the halfcourt and burning Platt in transition when facing a full-court press.
The Blue Knights had three lengthy runs in the first half, including an 8-0 spurt to start the game. The Panthers, meanwhile, missed their first seven shots and were held scoreless before finally reaching the scoring column 5:13 into the contest.
Hunter was cashing in with regularity at the back end of the Blue Knights’ press-breaker. He bookended a 9-0 uprising early in the second quarter with layups.
“Adam played great tonight,” Cessario said. “He bothered other people on the way to the rim when they were trying to dribble-drive. He was tremendous for us tonight and it was great to see his senior leadership come forward, too.”
Wadoloski scored six points in an 8-0 Southington run late in the fourth quarter as the Blue Knights continued to pull away.
In a display of parity, each player in Southington’s starting five scored in the first six minutes. The Blue Knights held a 20-10 advantage after the first quarter.
“We came out with a lot of energy,” Wadolowski said. “We didn’t force up any shots and we worked the ball until we got layups.”
After the halftime buzzer, it didn’t get much better for the Panthers. Southington continued to feast in transition and led 58-31 after three quarters.
The Blue Knights had nine field goals in the third quarter. Eight were in the paint, and seven of those shots were transition layups.
The Southington layup drill fed a 10-0 run that spilled into the fourth quarter. Both squads pulled their starters in the final four minutes.
“We just did a great job moving the ball around,” Hunter said. “We made passes and threw a lot of bounce passes to get it to the guys inside and that kept the offense flowing. The guards were getting me a lot of looks inside, so it was a really good day for all of us. We came out with a lot of energy tonight and kept the momentum going forward.”
Platt dropped to 8-4 on the season. The Panthers have dropped their last two after chalking up a four-game winning streak prior to Friday nights’ 58-57 loss to Maloney.
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