MERIDEN — Both Platt and Lyman Hall have the tools to be productive basketball teams.
Both have height. Both have quickness. Both have speed.
What Lyman Hall had that the Panthers didn’t on Monday was the cohesiveness that comes from experience and a little extra hustle.
The Trojans scored the first 17 points and never looked back to win their season opener 62-52 in a non-conference clash at the Henry Zaleski Gym.
“I thought we played great,” Lyman Hall coach Rob Ruys said. “We came out with great energy and great effort, sharing the basketball and playing together.”
Kevin Ransom controlled the game from his point-guard slot. He had nine assists to go with 13 points.
The rest of the Lyman Hall backcourt interacted like it was tournament time. Shakespeare Rodriguez led four players in double digits with 15 points. Cam Regan and Patrick Doherty had 12 apiece. Austin Ruiz chipped in with nine.
For the late-starting Panthers, Desmond Davis shared game honors with 15 points. First-year juniors Malcolm Andrews and 6-foot-5 power forward Justin Radford, both transfers from Hamden, had 11 each.
Platt coach Shawon Moncrief knows his team has the tools and that the togetherness will develop, but the Panthers have lost their first two games.
“We do need time to come together, but the effort level was pretty low in the first quarter,” he said. “In order for us to compete with anybody at any level, we need a lot more effort. There were a lot of loose balls that we didn’t get, but the positives are that we picked up the intensity after starting off in a hole like that.”
The Trojans didn’t shoot particularly well at the start, but passed the ball effectively, forced five turnovers and controlled the boards. Doherty had five rebounds and five points. Regan, a 6-foot-7 center, had a steal, blocked a shot and scored a hoop.
Ransom, as he did consistently last season, was all over the floor. He had three assists a couple steals and tallied the last two buckets to complete a near-perfect quarter that closed with Lyman Hall leading 17-0.
“He’s the guy who makes us better,” Ruys said. “He makes all the guys around him better. He’s as unselfish as they come.”
Doherty grabbed seven rebounds and Regan had 10.
“Pat set the tone for us early,” Ruys said. “He was hungry and he’s worked his tail off. I hope he keeps it rolling.”
The Panthers finally scored 35 seconds into the second quarter on a transition hoop by Andrews orchestrated by freshman guard Vincent Martinez, brother of former Platt girls hoop great Damica Martinez.
Andrews scored 11 points in the second quarter as Platt gradually reduced the deficit. Lyman Hall held a 31-19 halftime lead.
Ransom stepped to the forefront in the third quarter. When he wasn’t starting the fast break he was finishing it and preventing the Panthers from mounting a serious comeback. The Trojans extended their lead to 46-30 with 2:15 left in the quarter.
“Ransom controlled the pace of the game and [Ruys] did a good job with his team the whole way,” Moncrief said.
But Davis dropped in two from behind the arc, Radford scored on a tip-in and Platt was within striking distance at 47-38 after three.
The fourth quarter began much like the third, with Ransom controlling the pulse. He scored the first points of the quarter on a driving dash and Rodriguez followed suit. Ransom added two more assists to his lofty total as the Trojans bid to put it out of reach.
Meanwhile, Platt went cold from the floor. Martinez and Tre Carter combined for steals on four straight possessions, but the Panthers only mustered two points from the foul line. They missed their first seven shots of the quarter before Carter buried a three with 2:48 to go.
The Trojans struggled a bit to take the foot off the accelerator and work the clock, but Platt’s inability to score in the halfcourt offense sealed its fate.
Lyman Hall plays its home opener Wednesday against Branford. The Panthers hit the road for Cheshire Wednesday in search of their first win.