By BRIAN JENNINGS
The hot streak came to an end for the Blue Knight basketball team after three wins last week. Southington dropped their fifth game of the season in a two-point overtime loss, 50-48, to South Windsor in their lone contest of the week on Friday, Jan. 20.
“I’ll always appreciate our team’s effort,” said Southington coach John Cessario. “We have to really embrace some of the fundamentals, and the fundamentals bit us a little bit tonight.”
Coming into the game against a team that had only lost one game, Cessario said that he told his team to throw out the first eight games of the season and just play possession-to-possession basketball.
“We did that from the start,” the coach said. “It was 12-6 with a little momentum, and we hit two three’s. People started to feel comfortable while playing hard. That’s something that we’re trying to strive to achieve on a game-to-game basis.”
The Bobcats led, 10-6, by the end of the first quarter, but the Knights scored 17 points in the second quarter to take a one-point lead, 23-22, at halftime.
“The goal coming into a game like this against a team that is known for their two-three is to unlock the zone, and I felt like we did that,” said Cessario. “We got low-post, short-corner, and high elbow touches, along with three-pointers. We were able to get some transition buckets and defended very well. We were feeling pretty good.”
After holding a two-point lead, 35-33, at the end of the third quarter, the Knights fell behind late in the fourth quarter, but tied the score at 40-40 on a three-pointer by Brendan Taylor (10 points) with about a minute to play.
The Knights had possession with 8.5 seconds left in regulation, but lost possession by throwing the ball out of bounds on an inbounds play.
“We recognized that they went man-to-man, and I tried to call a timeout,” the coach said. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t seen. So we turned the ball over, and it gave South Windsor an opportunity to get the ball in the hands of two very impressive guards. We would have liked to have had that timeout recognized so we could set up a man-to-man look, but that’s not the way it went.”
The Bobcats missed a jump shot at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. However, a pair of quick three-pointers and four foul shots propelled the Bobcats past the Knights in overtime.
South Windsor’s Kewan Smoot paced the Bobcats with 29 points. Shane Young backed Smoot with 10 points.
“You can’t give opportunities to two players like (Kewan) Smoot and (Shane) Young to have the ball in their hands more,” said Cessario. “Unfortunately, we didn’t do it. But to be in a battle like that, win or lose, will definitely be a benefit down the road.”
Andrew Lohneiss paced the offense with 11 points. Jeremy Mercier and Mike DeFeo contributed with eight points apiece.
“I believe that guys like Tim O’Shea, Jack Herms, and Colin Burdette will grow as players from being in these types of games,” the coach said. “I thought we had that tonight.”
The Knights will look to get back on track next week with games against Rockville (1-7) and Glastonbury (1-8). Southington is currently 4-5 overall.