By BRIAN JENNINGS
“There are no silver linings in this one tonight,” said a deflated Southington coach Mike Forgione after Friday’s loss to South Windsor at home, “You have to close it out. Everyone tries to be nice and use all the adjectives in the world, but the bottom line is that you have to finish games like this.”
After beginning the season with a 4-2 record through their first six games, everything has since gone south for the Lady Knight basketball team. Southington fell for the fifth time in six games with a 60-57 double-overtime loss to South Windsor on Friday.
“We had opportunities in the fourth quarter and first overtime to finish it, and we didn’t,” said Forgione. “When you have teams down, you have to find a way to finish the game.”
After the Bobcats made one of two free throws to take a two-point lead late in the fourth quarter, Maggie Meehan hit a jump shot to tie the score at 46-46 with just over a minute to play. The Bobcats ran the last minute of the quarter down to the final seconds and missed a deep, contested two-pointer at the buzzer, sending the game into overtime.
The Knights held a two-point edge late in overtime and were sent to the foul line with 17.2 seconds remaining. A missed free throw on a one-and-one allowed the Bobcats to knot the score up at 54-54 on a layup with 2.5 seconds left, sending the game into a second overtime.
“We went man-to-man, and maybe we should have stayed in a zone,” the coach said. “I was trying to prevent them from kicking it out for a three. At least make them earn a jump shot in a man-to-man, but you can’t give them a layup.”
South Windsor went up by two points, 58-56, on a pair of free throws with 31.1 seconds remaining in the second overtime, but the Knights were able to cut the deficit to one after Meehan made one of two free throws with 10.4 seconds left.
“We were trying to set a screen for Maggie and get her open on the inbounds,” said Forgione. “Then we wanted to set a screen right away so she could drive and either look for a shot or look to kick it to Hartlee or Bri for a three. But she made a nice play, got fouled, and was aggressive.”
A couple of missed free throws by the Bobcats on their next possession allotted the Knights enough time to grab the rebound and rush to the other end of the floor for one last shot. However, the Knights were called for traveling on the fast break to the basket with 4.2 seconds showing on the clock.
“In that situation with no timeouts, you can’t really coach them,” the coach said. “You just have to let them make a play. If you start saying stuff, they start thinking too much. You have to hope that they can create something or pull up, not turn the ball over.”
Following the turnover, the Bobcats eventually pulled away on a pair of free throws.
“Not only did we miss some foul shots in the fourth quarter and overtime, but they came back and converted,” said Forgione. “It was kind of a double-edged sword.”
Meehan (3 rebounds) marshaled the offense with 21 points on a pair of three-pointers and went 5-for-6 from the foul line. Hartlee Meier (8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals) backed Meehan with 14 points. Brianna Harris contributed with nine points and went 4-for-4 from the charity stripe. Madison Hulten (5 points, 3 assists) grabbed 14 rebounds
The Knights will be back on the court this week with games against Tolland (6-6) and Glastonbury (9-2). Southington is currently 5-6 overall.