By BRIAN JENNINGS
The Southington Lady Knights varsity basketball team came into Friday night’s game battered and bruised without three of their starters, due to injuries. Although Maggie Meehan, Nicole Fischer, and Janette Wadolowski were all out, the Lady Knights still went out there and played hard for their town, team and coach, Mike Forgione.
“We were kind of in uncharted waters here with our injuries,” he said. “We knew it was going to be a tough battle, and Simsbury was 9-1 coming in. They’ve beaten some good teams by good amounts. We knew we were a little shorthanded, and we were going to have to play hard for four quarters…and I think the kids did that. We just came up a little bit short tonight.”
The Lady Knights kept it close for most of the game, only being down eight points at the half, 30-22.
“I told them that we have to play better on the ball defensively. We were getting beat off the dribble a little bit. We had to go out on their shooter,” said Forgione. “[Emily Alonzo] had three three’s in the first time half. We knew she was a shooter and one of our game plans was to not have her shoot any three’s.”
Being down six points, 38-32, to start the fourth, the Lady Knights were drawing up a run that was in the works for a comeback. But a couple turnovers in the final minutes would force the game to slip right out of their hands, falling to the Simsbury Trojans 54-44.
“I thought the kids played hard. I told them we’re 8-3 right now after 11 games and our wins and our losses in all 11 games,” said Forgione. “There hasn’t been one game where I’ve gone home thinking that we really didn’t bring it for four quarters. The kids gave maximum effort for 32 minutes. We just need to keep working and the kids filling in now have to just keep trying to get better. We’re a little young and inexperienced, but we’re going to get better from this game tonight.”
Kaitlin Paterson led the Lady Knights and all scorers with 14 points.
Freshman point guard Sarah Minkiewicz started in her first varsity game for the injured Fischer, finishing with eight points.
“You get a kid who’s played maybe two to three minutes a game in varsity in the first ten and then the eleventh game she plays 32 and has to play the point. You talk about getting thrown into the fire,” said Forgione. “I thought she did a good job overall. I told her that I’m going to demand a lot out of her because she has a lot of ability, she’s young right now and she’s inexperienced. She’s going to learn, and I think we’re going to take this game as a learning experience.”
Katie Martensen led the Trojans with 13 points.
“She’s been averaging over 25 points a game, so we really wanted to try to contain her and they have a really active point guard Miller,” said the coach. “Those were the two girls we were really looking to try and control. We knew Martensen was going to get her points, but we were going to try and keep it under control and I thought we did that.”
The Lady Knights were in West Hartford on Tuesday night. They walked out of Hall High School with a win, defeating the Warriors 59-46. Natalie Wadolowski led the Lady Knights and all scorers with 22 points. Erin O’Brien led the Warriors with 11 points.
The Lady Knights (8-3) currently sit in third place in the CCC West (3-3 in the CCC South). This week, they’ll travel to Newington (4-7) and New Britain (3-9).
To comment on this story or to contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at bjennings@ southingtonobserver.com.