NEW BRITAIN>>Both teams came out firing, but it was the second half where E.O. Smith took control on it’s way to a 60-48 CCC tournament quarterfinal victory at New Britain High School on Saturday.
E.O. Smith will now play Farmington, which handled Tolland, in the first semifinal game on Monday back in New Britain.
“We’re clearly going to be the underdog,” Roickle said. “They’re a very well coached team and have good players at each individual position and I’ll tell you what, I think we’re up for the challenge, but we’re going to have to play our best going up against a team like that.”
Bristol Eastern, down 28-23 at halftime, came out quick, scoring six of the first eight points of the quarter causing E.O. Smith coach Mary Roickle to call a timeout. From then on, the Panthers were in control.
McKenna Dale scored eight of her game high 22 points, including two 3-pointers, in the third quarter to give the Panthers a 47-37 lead after three.
“I think we can be our own worst enemy sometimes,” Roickle said. we tend to rush it under pressure and I think the team grew up, especially in the second half and handled it pretty well.”
Bristol Eastern used an 8-0 run in the middle of the second quarter to take a 20-17 lead, but E.O. Smith battled back with seven of the next eight points, capped by a 3 from Dale.
Khadaijia Brooks scored 10 of her 15 points in the first half, keeping the Lancers close.
“I really challenged the mental toughness of these kids at halftime and they stepped up to the plate,” Roickle said.
E.O. Smith caused havoc in transition, on both offense and defense, knocking away a number of Eastern passes and turning them into points of their own.
Megan Moran, a senior from E.O. Smith came off the bench and added eight points in the win.
“She’s gone from starter to coming off the bench and she just gave her heart today,” Roickle said.