Bristol Central boys seniors get win in final regular season home game

It took a couple minutes for points to be scored in Saturday’s Bristol Central boys basketball game against Berlin in the Charles C. Marsh Gymnasium.

It was a pace the visiting Redcoats were OK to move at. Berlin did what it could to slow down the top-ranked Central express, holding the ball and forcing the Rams to come out and defend them, even trap them. Central’s student section had this response: “Shoot the ball (clap clap, clap, clap, clap).”

Even with the slowdown in full force, the Redcoats didn’t have an answer for seven-foot-two senior center Donovan Clingan and the Rams. Central won, 54-33, to send its seniors out with a victory in their final regular season home game. The Rams improved to 17-0 with the win.

With a minute left in the first quarter, the Redcoats led, 7-6, following a 3-pointer. In a sign of things to come, the Rams more than doubled their point total to claim a 13-7 lead after one quarter. The points all came from Clingan, who converted a 3-point play, scored on a layup, then fired down a two-handed slam off a backboard pass from fellow senior Victor Rosa on a fast break.

Central’s first six points of the second quarter came on two-handed dunks from Clingan. After a Berlin 3-pointer, senior Damion Glasper responded with one of his own for a 22-13 halftime margin.

Clingan got taken out on an alley oop attempt in the third quarter, and the ball was somehow awarded to Berlin. Clingan responded with fury, backing down his defender before turning around for a two-handed jam. He then showed his aptitude with the Mikan drill, making a quick move before going to his left hand for a layup. Central’s student section responded with a chant of “That’s too easy (clap clap, clap, clap, clap).” Clingan finished with 27 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots.

When Berlin triple-teamed Clingan, he found the open man. On a couple occasions, it was fellow senior Carson Rivoira who caught Clingan’s pass and scored on easy layups. Glasper knocked down shots from the outside while Rosa and fellow senior Steve Alseph Jr. turned up the heat on the Redcoat guards on defense. Alseph also brought the ball up the floor for the Rams. The student section got to cheer extra loud for senior reserve Zachary Vanasse, who buried a 3-pointer in front of them.

With just minutes left in the final regular season home game for his senior starters, Central head coach Tim Barrette subbed them all out at once to get them a final ovation. It was the last regular season home games for seniors Clingan, Rosa, Glasper, Rivoira, Alseph, Vanasse, Aaron Brown and Jelani Walton.

The Rams close out the regular season with road games against Middletown (Tuesday), Maloney (Friday) and Bristol Eastern (Feb. 22). Central has the CCC Tournament, then the Division II state tournament after that.

Photo caption: Bristol Central seniors Damion Glasper (5) and Donovan Clingan got a win in their final regular season home game Saturday. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69, file)