AVON, Jan. 27 – It didn’t take long Friday night for defending NCCC champion Enfield to assert themselves. The Raiders scored the first 13 points of the game and never looked back in a 65-45 victory over the Falcons.
Avon’s Ryan Marioni (1) brings the ball upcourt
The two teams came into the game tied for first place in the NCCC with 8-0 records. Enfield hadn’t lost a game yet this season with 12 victories. Avon was 9-2 with seven straight victories and a defense that had given up an average of 46 points the last four games.
Avon (9-3, 8-1 NCCC) gave up 36 by halftime to the Raiders, who received 20 points from Hugh Lindo, 18 from Tia Preston and 15 from Paul Lima, who drained five 3-point field goals including one that beat the buzzer at the end of the first quarter.
“We came out and executed very well,” Enfield coach Cory O’Connell said. “I thought we would be able to use our quickness and athleticism to pull away.”
The Raiders (13-0, 9-0) used it to break the Falcons early. Enfield led 13-0 and 16-4 using its speed to harass the Falcons into turnovers and get around them on offense. Avon did cut the lead to nine with 28 seconds left in the first period when Brandon Feinberg put back a rebound into the basket.
But Lima’s three-pointer at the buzzer boosted the lead back to 12 points, 21-9 and Avon never got any closer.
“From the opening tip, Enfield was a better team at both ends of the floor,” Avon coach Chris Vozzolo said. “They played the game at a different speed than we did.” Jacob Forcheimer led the Falcons with 12 points but no other player broke into double figures. Sean Herrmann scored eight along with Feinberg.
“Enfield is smart,” Vozzolo said. “They have players who know their roles and they get the job done. They controlled the tempo of the game. We were just overwhelmed at the start.”
While Avon lost to Farmington and Bristol Eastern earlier this season, they were in the game in the fourth quarter. The Falcons also beat Glastonbury, a Class LL school. But against Enfield, they had few answers. “We were out of this one in the first two minutes,” Vozzolo said. “We were shellshocked.”
O’Connell was surprised but he expects to see a different Avon team on the floor when they play a return contest on February 14 in Enfield. “They are a much better team than they showed tonight,” he said. “They’re bigger than we are and play good man-to-man defense. They break the press well and move the ball. It was just one of those nights.”
CELEBRATION: At halftime, the Class L champion girls soccer team unveiled the updated state championship banner on the gym walls with the new 2011 patch and received a warm welcome from the crowd.
Enfield 65, Avon 45
Avon (45) Jared Rosenblatt 0-0-0, Ryan Marioni 0-4-4, Jacob Forcheimer 2-7-12, Patrick McKearney 0-0-0, Billy Stevens 0-1-1, Sean Herrmann 3-0-8, Brad Fisher 0-2-2, Jason Leaning 0-1-1, Brandon Feinberg 3-2-8, Connor Larson 1-0-2, Austin Curry 0-0-0, Will DiStefano 2-0-4, Justin Reichler 1-0-2. Totals 13 16-22 45
Enfield (65) Hugh Lindo 9-2-20, Tia Preston 9-0-18, Paul Lima 5-0-15, Tony Romano 1-0-2, John Cerrato 2-0-4, Josh Gaines 1-0-2, Justin Thomas 0-0-0, Ra Preston 1-2-4. Totals 28 4-7 65
Enfield 21 15 17 12 – 65
Avon 9 11 10 15 – 45
Three-point shots: Forcheimer (A), Herrmann (A) 2, Lima (E) 5
Records: Enfield 13-0, 9-0 NCCC; Avon 9-3, 8-1 NCCC