SOUTHINGTON — Note to the rest of the Central Connecticut Conference: Don’t play the Southington girls basketball team after a loss.
Then again, if the Blue Knights continue to play the way they did Saturday, that may not be an issue. There won’t be many losses to atone for.
In a matchup of CCC Region B powers on Saturday afternoon, the Blue Knights routed previously unbeaten Bristol Eastern 65-45.
It was the Blue Knights’ second straight home rout this week — Bristol Central was a 54-29 victim Wednesday — after losing at Plainville by a point in overtime on Feb. 12.
This one, however, was unexpected. Eastern was 3-0.
Without a true postseason to measure itself, Southington’s matchup Saturday afternoon could go a long way toward defining its 2021 season.
Let’s just say Southington (3-1) proved it is among not only the best CCC teams, but maybe among the state’s top Class LL teams. Southington looked every bit the team that was at one time ranked No. 1 in Class LL last season. The Blue Knights used an 11-0 run in the third quarter to win going away.
“We took that loss (at Plainville) and said, ‘We aren’t losing again,’” said guard Allison Mikosz, who hit a pair of 3-pointers during Southington’s run and finished with 14 points. “We all just wanted to come back from our loss to Plainville.
“We all started working together and I started hitting my 3’s. I missed a few, but then I got hot.”
Interesting enough, Southington head coach Howie Hewitt pulled Mikosz and his other sophomore shooter, Gabby Dangelo, for not taking shots in the first quarter. The pair responded, combining for four 3’s in the third quarter.
As a team, the Blue Knights made 10 triples in the game.
On top of that, Kelley Marshall’s presence inside proved too much for the Lancers. Senior point guard Livvy Pizzitola also had several crucial offensive rebounds in the third quarter and she also had a 3 during the key stretch.
Combined with Marshall, whose basket after a pair of offensive rebounds gave Southington a 46-32 lead with 2:47 to play in the third, Southington’s multiple looks per possession eventually caught up to Bristol Eastern.
“Obviously, our outside shooting with Gabby and Allison were key,” Hewitt said. “But (Mikosz) wouldn’t shoot the ball in that first quarter, and she can play.
“I know they have to one of the better teams in the CCC, and I’m not saying we can’t shoot and play as well as we did, but 10 3’s? That’s abnormal,” Hewitt continued. “And holding them to 45 points says a lot about our defense. We did a great job.”
“Eastern is very good, but it’s tough playing without your coach,” Hewitt added, alluding to the absence of Eastern head coach Tony Floyd, who missed Saturday’s game.
“They just shot the ball very well and we didn’t get out on the shooters,” said Mark Camden, who filled in for Floyd. “We switched from zone to man, but we could have done that better. We knew coming here it would be a good game, but like I said, that third quarter they just shot the ball.”
Southington took the lead for good in the first quarter and led by seven midway through the second quarter. But Bristol Eastern (3-1) wouldn’t go away, drawing within 31-27 at the half.
The Blue Knights, however, broke the game open at the 5:23 mark of the third quarter.
Pizzitola led Southington with 15 points, while all nine of Dangelo’s points came via three 3’s. Seniors Allison Carr and Marshall both had 11 for Southington.
Bristol Eastern sophomore Ciara Collins led all players with 23 points, but she wasn’t enough to keep the Lancers close after halftime.
The teams traded leads five times during the first quarter, with Southington scoring the first five points of the game. The Blue Knights led 17-13 after one period.
The teams then played a 14-14 second quarter.
Mikosz’s first 3 of the game started the second quarter and put Southington up 20-16. Collins got Eastern back within a bucket, but a Carr basket off an offensive rebound and Dangelo’s first 3 of the game gave Southington its largest lead before halftime, 29-22.
After the break, a running and-one by Collins got Eastern withing 33-30 and Janessa Gonzalez’s basket made it 35-32 before the Blue Knights went on their decisive 11-0 run.