SOUTHINGTON — Call it a shooter’s touch. And make no mistake, Allison Mikosz is among Southington’s best shooters.
But sometimes the ball just bounces your way.
Mikosz and the Blue Knights certainly got the bounces Friday night in beating Farmington 45-40. Mikosz scored a game-high 18 points, with six coming on two 3-pointers in the second quarter that bounced off the backboard before going through the net.
So, while Southington outlasted Farmington due to more than Mikosz’s scoring, her six points proved to be the difference in a Central Connecticut Conference Region B matchup.
Southington opened up its largest lead of the night, 33-21, in the third quarter when Mikosz banked-in a triple. Earlier in the game, a Mikosz shot from behind the arc bounced off the rim, then high off the top of the backboard, before falling into the basket.
That triple, her third of the period, put Southington up 17-10.
“I didn’t even know they counted it,” Mikosz said of her second-quarter hoop. “I was surprised. I was waiting for them to blow the whistle.
“We knew (Farmington) would be competitive,” Mikosz added. “We wanted to win this game and keep focused.”
Southington improved to 5-1, beating the second CCC Region B contender in a week. Last Saturday, the Blue Knights routed 4-1 Bristol Eastern 65-45.
Farmington, which had won four straight games, fell to 4-2. Its only other loss was to Eastern to open the season.
“These guys (Farmington) are good. Eastern is good. I mean, Plainville beat us,” Southington head coach Howie Hewitt said. “There are tons of really good teams in the CCC. I don’t want to leave anyone out. It’s really something.”
Southington put itself in position to win behind a relentless defense that held Farmington at bay all night. Guards Liv Pizzitola (7 points) and Gabby Dangelo (5) came up with key steals and rebounds.
Senior center Kelley Marshall (5 points) shook off some early foul trouble to hit just enough free throws down the stretch to keep Southington in front.
“That was a really good game,” Hewitt said. “They were playing well; our guys played like crazy.
“Kelley struggled a little bit early with fouls, but like I told the kids, ‘Just give yourself a chance,’ and they did.”
Farmington senior Emma Novajasky scored her 1,000th varsity point. As expected, she ended up with a team-high 14 points. But her only points of the second half were her 1000th midway through the fourth quarter.
The Blue Knights would lead from late in the first quarter on. They led 33-26 entering the fourth. But after taking a 43-30 lead on a pair of Marshall free throws, Southington didn’t score for four minutes.
The drought allowed Farmington to creep back into the game. In fact, Southington didn’t make field goal over the final 4:50.
Farmington’s pressure defense forced Southington into five turnovers in the final frame. Combined with Southington’s willingness to play cautiously with the lead, the visitors got as close as 43-37 with 1:56 to play.
But Farmington missed five of its final six shots, allowing the Blue Knights to escape.
“It was interesting, for sure,” Farmington head coach Keith Garbart. said. “It was definitely a game of spurts. They hit the shots they needed to down the stretch. We never gave up.”
Farmington, like Southington, was 4-1 heading into the game and riding a four-game winning streak after losing 63-58 to Bristol Eastern in its season opener.
As for the Blue Knights, unlike their unexpected 20-point blowout of Eastern on Saturday, this latest encounter with a CCC power was nip-and-tuck all the way.
Southington took a 22-16 lead into halftime. And while neither team led by double digits in the first half, but Southington did lead by as many as eight points when Pizzitola collected a second offensive rebound and was fouled. Her free throw gave Southington a 22-14 advantage.
Farmington, however, scored the final basket of the half to send the teams into the locker room.
Mikosz hit the first of her three 3-pointers in the second quarter to start the Blue Knights’ scoring. Her second trey of the quarter gave Southington a 17-10 lead and she then watched the ball bounce high off the top of the backboard and into the hoops for her third triple and 20-13 Blue Knights’ advantage with 1:42 left in the half.
The Blue Knights and Farmington played a 10-8 first quarter, with Southington taking the lead for good on a steal and layup by Mikosz. The teams traded leads up to Mikosz’s basket and were tied three times in the game’s opening eight minutes.