GIRLS BASKETBALL: Cold start, cold finish doom Lady Knights

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Cold start, cold finish doom Lady Knights

SOUTHINGTON — A first quarter without a field goal put the Southington girls basketball team in a hole. A one-point fourth quarter sealed the Blue Knights’ fate.

Oh, and more Southington turnovers than points prevented any threat of a comeback Monday night.

The Blue Knights fell to Hall 46-18 in a CCC West-Colonial matchup at Southington. The loss dropped Southington to 2-6 overall. Hall won its third straight game to improve to 5-4 on the season.

The Blue Knights didn’t value the basketball and it showed from the start. Southington compounded its woes by making just six field goals in the game and missing seven of 12 free throws.

The Blue Knights were at their worst in the first and fourth quarters. Southington missed all five of its first-quarter shots and went 0-of-5 from the field in the fourth.

Southington also committed nine of its 25 turnovers in the fourth quarter.

“We knew they were an aggressive team that would attack the rim like they did it that fourth quarter,” Southington head coach Mike Forgione said. “We were trying to prevent that early and I think it worked, but we just couldn’t shoot and had too many turnovers

“I don’t know. We are putting the time and effort in during practice. Nobody is working harder than us. We’ll just keep working and hopefully things will turn around.”

Southington started the game by missing the four shots they managed to get off in between five first-quarter turnovers. Two quick fouls on leading scorer Kelley Marshall didn’t help, as she sat on the bench and watched Southington fall behind 7-2 after one quarter.

And despite sticking around for a half, the Hall pressure defense wore down a young Blue Knights squad and just added to the woes after halftime. Hall’s lead grew to double digits in the third quarter.

“I don’t know what we were thinking in the beginning; we just got off to a really show start,” said senior Kristen Longley, who led the Knights with five points.

Meghan Mikosz had 4 points for Southington, which started a freshman point guard, the sophomore Marshall in the post and two juniors.

Despite the cold shooting, the Blue Knights trailed by just 17-10 at halftime. Southington didn’t get its first field goal of the game until 6:32 remained in the second quarter on a layup by Marshall.

But as Southington’s miscues mounted, the Hall lead grew to double digits for the majority of the second half. Hall scored the first four points of the second half and took its first double-digit lead, 21-10, on a pair of free throws by Nicole Deslauriers.

Hall led 27-17 entering the fourth quarter and extended its lead to 30-17 on a 3-pointer by Olivia Bonee (11 points). With Southington missing its first three shots of the quarter and committing six straight turnovers, the Hall lead grew to 37-17.

As Forgione said, Southington stuck with its zone defense throughout the first half. And the defense was working until Hall started making shots.

The Warriors missed their first seven attempts – four from beyond the 3-point arc – and didn’t make their first shot until 1:44 remained in the first quarter. Olivia Deslauriers, who led the Warriors with 15 points, made the first of her two 3’s in the half to account for Hall’s first basket of the half.

Bonee added the first of her first of two 3s in the half to give Hall a 15-8 lead with 4 minutes to play in the second quarter.

In what became a game-long trend, the Blue Knights had more turnovers than points in the first half. Southington committed 13 miscues in the first 16 minutes.

The first Southington hoop came after Marshall returned to the game in the second quarter and scored inside. Her basket got Southington within 10-4 and a driving layup by freshman point guard Julia Korp a minute later had Southington down just 10-6 with 5:29 to play in the half.