It may not have been the best night from the field, but Southington girls basketball leaned on a dominating defensive performance on their way to a 40-18 win over New Britain in their season debut on Dec. 16.
After New Britain started out the first quarter up 5-0, the Blue Knights finished the first half on a 21-3 run to take a 21-8 halftime lead and never looked back. The run was sparked by takeaways that turned into easy fast-break baskets.
“We began to trap them a little better at the end of the first quarter and began to play reasonable defense,” head coach Howie Hewitt said after his first game at the helm. “We shot terribly from the field but we got some steals that turned into easy layups. We either turned them over or they got one shot and that was it. To hold the other team to 18 points showed that we played hard.”
Southington outscored New Britain, 18-3, in the second quarter. That run was led by point guard Livvy Pizzitola, and Allison Carr, who provided a spark off the bench. Pizzitola and Carr combined for 14 points and five steals in the quarter.
Carr led the team with nine points, while also racking up three rebounds and five steals. Pizzitola finished with eight points, four steals, and four rebounds.
“Alli Carr came off the bench and was sensational for us,” Hewitt said. “She was everywhere, doing everything. Livvy sparked us with a couple good steals and layups. Julia Korp also made some important shots for us. I think three of the girls we were expecting to give us points did not get that much. So, for us to get 40 with those girls having an off night, I would say that is pretty good.”
Hewitt said that he was happy overall in the Lady Knights’ first game of the season, but the team is nowhere near their potential.
“With it being the first night and being at home, naturally the girls were excited and maybe the jitters were a bit too much,” Hewitt said. “I think, now, they understand how much the defensive part of it means. We are still nowhere near where we have to be defensively, especially when we play some of the other teams.”
Offensively, Hewitt said that he is hoping his players will be more aggressive with the ball around the basket.
“I told the team the other day in practice that it seems like everyone wants to pass,” Hewitt said. “I am a pass guy, but sometimes I feel like we are in the lane, and we are looking for someone to pass to. I believe you can’t be a good passer until you are a good scorer. You can have the 10 best plays in the history of basketball in your playbook but if you don’t have someone to put it in the basket, it does not matter. If you can score, then you have to score.”
Korp had six points for the Lady Knights off of two three-pointers, and also led the team with four assists. Kelley Marshall had five points and six rebounds. Taylor Sullivan also added a three-pointer in the win.
The next home game for Southington will not be until after the New Year, with their next three games on the road. They were scheduled to travel to Maloney last Friday, before traveling to Hall this past Monday (Dec. 23). They were scheduled to play at Capital Prep on Thursday (Dec. 26).
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Spencer Dreher, email him at SDreher@SouthingtonObserver.com.