By BRIAN JENNINGS
Inexperience might have caught up to the Lady Knight basketball team after they dropped two of three games this past week, but Southington coach Mike Forgione said that the younger players are starting to understand what it takes to compete at a high level.
The coach said he hopes what they learned from the first half of the season will help carry the momentum down the stretch.
“You can talk about it and try to drill it in them at practice, but until you experience it, you can’t really understand it,” the coach said. “Starting three freshmen, they’re not used to being in this role and didn’t expect to be in this role when the season started. I bet that all three would have been excited just to be on the varsity bench. Now they’re playing 30 minutes a night.”
Loss at Hall
JAN. 9—The Knights began the week on the road in West Hartford and fell, 71-56, at Hall on Monday. Hall is ninth in Class LL and fourth in the CCC.
The Warriors outscored the Knights, 30-16, in the second and third quarters combined. Maggie Meehan (6 rebounds, 3 assists) paced the offense with 23 points and went 14-for-14 from the foul line. Hartlee Meier (8 rebounds, 3 steals) backed Meehan with 15 points on a pair of three-pointers. Brianna Harris contributed with 11 points. Madison Hulten grabbed nine rebounds.
Loss vs. Conard
JAN 12—Southington suffered their fifth loss of the season after falling, 56-50, to Conard at home a few days later. Conard is fourth in Class LL and second behind undefeated Enfield in the CCC.
“To play a team that was 9-1 coming in, whose only loss was to Glastonbury by a point, I thought the kids battled for four quarters against an experienced team with a lot of depth,” said Forgione. I was really proud of our effort. You’re always disappointed when you lose, but with what we’re working with and going up against, I thought that we gave Conard all they could handle and more.”
The Chieftains led, 28-23, at halftime, but the Knights came as close as three points down late in the fourth quarter. Meehan (5 rebounds, 5 steals) marshaled the offense with 20 points and went 5-for-6 from the foul line. Harris backed Meehan with 12 points. Hartlee Meier (5 rebounds, 2 assists) contributed with 10 points on a triad of three-pointers. Hulten (2 blocks) secured 7 boards.
Win at Wethersfield
JAN. 14—The Knights wrapped up the week by ending their three-game losing streak with a four-point victory, 51-48, at Wethersfield (6-5) on Saturday.
“It was a good road win,” said Forgione. “There’s a team that has a lot of experience with a lot of upperclassmen. Their best player is probably Nicole Gwynn. She’s very athletic and is only a freshman.”
Both teams put up 24 points in the second half, but Southington outscored Wethersfield, 27-24, in the first half.
“They have two types of teams,” the coach said. “They almost start a five-guard offense that is very experienced and athletic. Then they bring in two six-one girls and a five-11 girl. They have a run-and-jump type of team, and then they can bring in these big girls off the bench.”
Meehan (5 assists, 4 rebounds) dropped 24 points on a pair of three-pointers and went 10-for-15 from the foul line. Meier (7 rebounds, 2 steals) backed Meehan with 14 points on three jumpers from beyond the arc. Harris (3 rebounds, 3 steals) contributed with 12 points. Hulten controlled the glass with eight rebounds.
“We made some big plays,” the coach said. “Hartlee hit some big shots, and Bri Harris really started to contribute on the offensive end. Maggie did her usual thing of leading by example in how hard she plays, controlling the game with the ball in her hands.”
Wethersfield went 5-for-15 (33.3 %) from the foul line and made just one three-pointer out of 12 attempts.
The Knights will look to stay in postseason contention this week when they host South Windsor (4-5) in their lone game of the week on Friday, Jan. 20.
With the losses, Southington fell to 5-5.
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