By KEN MORSE
Southington head coach Mike Forgione knew going into the season that the Lady Knights would have stretches where the youth and inexperience would be a challenge. After seven games the girls basketball team is beginning to find some consistency at 4-3 on the season.
Last Tuesday the Lady Knights made it three wins in a row earning a hard fought 51-43 victory over Plainville. Almost single-handedly, Janette Wadolowski did in the Blue Devils of Plainville, scoring a game-high 27 points with 14 rebounds.
Madison Hulten added eight points and was a force underneath the basket pulling down 12 rebounds and blocking five shots. Southington owned a distinct advantage in the paint outrebounding Plainville 47-31 leading to seven put-backs with Marshall chipping in with four points and eight rebounds.
The key to stopping 5-1 Plainville in their tracks was the defensive play of freshman guard Austin Carr (seven points, seven rebounds) who neutralized the Blue Devils leading scorer Caitlin Barker (10 points) who came in averaging 23 points per game.
“We felt if we could hold Barker to under ten points we had a good chance of winning the game,” said Forgione. “Ali Carr is our toughest defender and she did a good job shutting down Barker.”
Southington came right out and took charge of the game getting out to a 7-0 advantage. But Plainville riding the momentum of a four game winning streak battled back and trailed 15-10 heading into the second quarter.
The youthful inexperience came to the forefront over the next eight minutes as the Lady Knights could only put four points on the board in the second quarter.
Isabel Lozefski (12 points) hit a pair of foul shots to give Plainville its first lead of the game with 2:15 left in the half and Kori Jones hit a buzzer beating three-pointer to send the Blue Devils into the break with a 24-19 advantage.
“Obviously this wasn’t our best game,” said Forgione. “Plainville is a very scrappy team. They are quick and aggressive and if you bring the ball down they will take it away from you.”
“I was really proud of the way we played in the second half. After scoring just four points in the second quarter we had a 13 point swing in the second half. We were only 17 of 26 from the line and I’m always preaching that we need to make our layups and foul shots.”
Junior Kristen Longley and freshman Livvy Pizzitola came on to provide a little more pressure defense and sophomore Megan Mikosz supplied valuable minutes when Marshall picked up her fourth foul early in the third quarter.
Sophomore Brianna Harris began to break the press and found the open shooter. Southington, which lived on put backs in the first half, started to hit from the perimeter to retake the lead.
Hulten hit a turn around jumper in the lane to give the lead back to the Lady Knights with 3:47 to go in the third quarter. Wadolowski went coast-to-coast off a steal and then hit a pull up jumper out on the wing.
Another Longley steal led to a fast break to Hulten who threw in the 15 footer off the window as the Lady Knights went into the final quarter with a 36-35 lead.
A 10-0 run by Southington put the game away opening up a 46-35 advantage with 4:32 left in the game. Plainville twice made it a two possession game down the stretch but they couldn’t generate enough offense to close the gap as Southington finished it out earning the 51-43 win.
“We gutted out a win and that is the positive,” said Forgione. “We did miss way too many layups and foul shots. I don’t want to use youth and inexperience as an excuse.”
“We are seven games into the season and we should be showing some progress,” said Forgione. “We have a couple of tough games coming up and we are going need to finish a lot stronger.”
With Thursday’s game postponed by snow, the Knights will look to stay hot this week with games against Hall (5-3), Conard (6-1), and the rescheduled game at Newington (3-2).
For this week’s box scores, click here: (southingtonobserver.com/2018/01/10/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-jan-12-edition).