MERIDEN — The growing pains continue for the Platt boys basketball team.
The Panthers dropped their 13th in a row on Friday night at home in a 54-44 defeat against CCC South-Colonial Division foe Berlin.
The Redcoats (5-12, 4-4 South) punished Platt with long-distance shooting. Berlin canned nine 3-pointers on the way to the divisional win.
The Panthers did show heart toward the end of the game with a 16-0 run in the fourth quarter to get back within single digits after trailing by as many as 25. Platt held Berlin scoreless for five minutes during the comeback attempt.
“I felt we played hard and smarter than we did than the last couple of games,” Moncrief said. “The ball didn’t bounce our way a few times, but I’m proud of our guys and that we fought back. We never gave up and fought until the end.”
Berlin senior Danny Lynch scored 15 of his game-high 18 points in the first half. He had five treys on the night.
“We needed those,” Berlin coach Mike Veneziano said. “Danny was huge tonight. We needed him. Jeff Madeia did a good job getting to the basket. We tend to settle for threes. We took a lot of threes at times when we could have attacked the basket and gotten better shots.
“When they are going in, it looks good. When they are not, it’s not so good.”
The Redcoats held a 31-18 lead at the half after burying six treys in the opening 16 minutes. Lynch drilled four of them and Ben Lincoln and Michael Ciarcia also dialed it up from distance for the visitors.
Berlin finished both the first and second quarters with big runs. The Redcoats ended the first quarter with a 17-10 advantage backed by a 12-2 rush in the final 2:08 of the frame. Berlin capped the second quarter with a 12-3 run that included a trio of 3-pointers.
The 13-point advantage at the break was Berlin’s biggest of the first half.
Platt (1-16, 0-7) struggled with turnovers and finding a flow against the Berlin match-up zone. The Panthers were forced to settle for outside shots. They occasionally found success driving the baseline, but went through long droughts between field goals.
Elijah Wright and Jher'Quez Slater (7 points) both had five points apiece at the half to lead Platt.
Tre Carter drilled a 3-pointer and Anthony Nimani followed with a slashing teardrop as Platt closed to within 36-25 in the third quarter. The Redcoats responded with back-to-back 3-pointers by Lynch and Jeffrey Madeia, who had 10 of his 14 points in the third stanza.
The shots sparked a 14-0 run that capped the third quarter. Berlin led 50-25 heading into the final frame.
Platt exploded for its 16-0 run in the fourth quarter behind Carter and Wright. Carter scored 12 of his team-high 17 points in the fourth and Wright had eight of his 12.
“Carter is tremendous,” Veneziano said. “He probably averages 25 points against us. We just don’t have an answer for him.”
Berlin completed the season sweep of Platt. The Redcoats won the first meeting 86-73 at home on Jan. 27.
“We are going through some growing pains in trying to rebuild ourselves to our standard where we are contenders and competing against the teams on our schedule,” Moncrief said. “But the kids still have their heads up high. They want to be coached. A lot of times during a rebuilding stage, you pack it in, but they are still fighting.”