By JOHN GORALSKI
Kyle Borawski stroked a perfect three pointer in the first quarter. Mike Pagano scrambled for 15 points in the second quarter. Five times, a Southington player drew a foul to step to the line for a free throw opportunity.
On Friday, Jan. 2, the Blue Knight basketball team was throwing everything they had at the No. 3 ranked Weaver boys. Still, Southington was looking at a 15-point deficit at the half.
“They are a top-notch team,” said Blue Knight coach John Cessario. “We were controlling the tempo, and we limited our turnovers. They hit a couple of open triples and they got a call on that three-point shot that really hit our momentum. For all intents and purposes, I thought that we answered the bell.”
As if things weren’t bad enough for the young Knights, last week posed a pair of lopsided games against veteran competition.
Both times, the Knights finished on the bad end of a lopsided contest, but there were glimpses…
Brendan Taylor swished a pair of three pointers in the fourth quarter against Weaver. Southington trailed by only three at the half against Immaculate. Pagano finished the week with 32 points. Richard Rivera battled Weaver’s big men for seven rebounds.
Cessario said that the Knights are still making progress despite their 0-5 start.
“We knew going into this year that there were going to be nights like this,” said the first-year coach. “We are a turn-the-page type of program. As a staff, we have to work on turning the page as quickly as possible and getting into the next game plan. Then, we have to implement it.”
Cessario said that the Knights could compete with these powerhouse programs if they could limit their mistakes. With 37 turnovers against Weaver, every good shot, rebound, and steal was nullified by a Southington mistake.
“We always seem to have moments, but we need to have consistent moments,” said the coach. “We need guys that are constantly looking for the next play whether their last play was good or bad.”
As for the schedule, it can only get easier. Immaculate and Weaver managed to dismantle the young Knights with strong guard play. Now, Southington can use that experience to change the momentum in the coming week.
Southington will finally have a chance to break their 23-game losing streak that began at the start of last season when they face NW Catholic (1-3) and Farmington (1-4) this week.
NW Catholic has had over a week to regroup after their one-point loss to East Catholic on Dec. 29. Farmington is on a three-game skid that started in week two. Both are road games, but on paper the Knights have a chance to win both contests.
“Believe me, there are no nights off in the CCC,” said Cessario. “The early season miscommunication and early season play is starting to go away. I think that some teams are starting to play better, so we’re trying to keep up with the Joneses. We’re just looking to get the next one. We’re not even looking that far forward at both of them.”
Will this be the week that the Knights get back on track?
“We feel that, on every night that we go into a game, we’re sound enough to compete,” Cessario said. “We just need to put 32 minutes together. There hasn’t been a game—even tonight—that we haven’t been able to build up our confidence.”