MERIDEN — The Platt boys basketball team made quick work of CCC South foe Bristol Eastern behind a career-high 28 points by sophomore forward Makhai Anderson in a 73-62 home win on Thursday night.
The Panthers’ speed and size overwhelmed the Lancers throughout. The hosts took an early lead and never trailed as they improved to 4-3 on the season and 2-0 in the South. Eastern fell to 2-6 and 0-2.
In addition to Anderson’s 28, junior Anthony Nimani added 18 as the Panthers hurt Eastern in transition and with their half-court man-to-man defense.
“We challenged Makhai before the game to have a big performance and I'm glad he responded,” Platt coach Shawon Moncrief said. “He started out the season with a 20-20 game and he had been in a little slump lately. We expect this out of him every night now.”
Platt led 46-21 at the half, feasting on Lancer turnovers and sprinting up and down the floor. Anderson, a transfer from Hamden, was everywhere for Platt with 19 points in the first half.
However, Eastern had a big fourth quarter and hit six of its 11 3-pointers in the final eight minutes to trim the final score back to 12 at the final buzzer. It was the closest the Lancers came since the opening minutes.
Moncrief had his Panthers doing sprints after the game to maintain the team motto of out-working opponents for all four quarters. He felt his team stepped off the gas in the second half.
“We won; a win is a win and we are happy to get a check in the win column, but we got a little sloppy in the fourth quarter,” Moncrief said. “We got up on them early and then we started to get lazy and didn’t stick to our principles.
“As you saw, we were committed to getting that message across tonight.”
The Panthers had a big first quarter, jumping out to leads of 10-0 and 16-1. Bristol Eastern had five turnovers and was 0-for-6 from the field in the opening four minutes as Platt built a nice cushion to start the game.
The host’s first four hoops were in transition as Platt opened the game 5-for-6 from the field.
Juan Dancy (9 points) and Anderson had buckets in the opening minutes. Eastern called a quick timeout, but there was no slowing the Panthers on Thursday night. Anderson drove to the hoop again, Nimani came through with a transition layup and Anderson converted a put-back as Platt was up 10-0 just 2:26 into the contest.
Nimani and Justin Black (11 points) hit back-to-back treys as the Panthers went up 16-1.
Eastern’s first field goal of the game was a trey by Nasir Walker-Jenkins with 2:42 left in the first quarter.
The Panthers led 24-11 after the first quarter.
Black scored the final hoop of the first quarter and Platt scored the first 13 points of the second for a 15-0 run that pushed the score to 37-11 with 4:03 to go in the first half. Isaiah Summers capped the uprising with a bucket in the paint.
Anderson then had a driving hoop, a trey and a two-handed slam that just rimmed out as the Platt lead continued to swell to a 25-point lead at the half.
Nimani scored nine of Platt’s 13 third-quarter points as Platt led 59-38 after three quarters.
“We should have blown them out by a lot," Nimani said. “We just got lazy at the end. We had a good run to start the game and built a good lead. We just got too comfortable.”
After not scoring in the third, Anderson scored eight of Platt’s 13 points in the third quarter.
Brayden Dauphinais paced the Lancers with 10 points. Nasir Walker-Jenkins, Elijah Borgelin and Benjamin D'Amato had nine points apiece for Eastern.
This was Platt’s sixth home game in its first seven contests of the year. The Panthers will hit the road for the next eight contests before returning home for the last five.
Platt has had three narrow losses. Moncrief said the team’s 4-3 record could be better.
“I think we gave away a couple of gifts and lost three close games,” Moncrief said. “I think our record should be a little better than where we are. We expect a lot out of these guys all of the time.
“I love coaching this team. We have a great group of guys who are responding well. They are doing what it take to make this season work out to the plans we have in our mind.”