Girls' basketball team won't settle

By Evan Pajer - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Fri., Jan. 18, 2013
East Hartford players run on the gym floor during a practice after school on Jan. 18. Photos by Evan Pajer.
East Hartford players run on the gym floor during a practice after school on Jan. 18. Photos by Evan Pajer.

East Hartford High School's girls’ varsity basketball team had a great start this year, with seven straight victories over tough opponents like Manchester and East Catholic. At the end of its streak, the team was ranked eighth in the region and was in the process of obtaining votes in the state rankings. Then, the team lost two games in a row to Glastonbury and Windsor before coming back against Wethersfield on Jan. 15.

Coach Matt Rondinone said that the winning streak was the product of high-intensity training. "At 4-0, we beat Weaver, and everything we were doing at that point was right," Rondinone said. "The tough thing was continuing the high level of intensity during practice." After the initial four-game win streak, Rondinone said the team had difficulty keeping up the level of intensity seen in their first four games. "When we played Newington and Manchester, we lost some of that intensity from practice and we lost what made us 4-0."
During its streak, the team hit a high note when Emily Burr made the "Fab 15" list of top-scoring players for the week.

When the team had its first loss of the season to Glastonbury, Rondinone said they took it as a wake-up call. "It was like water hitting you in the face," he said. "We had to work just a little bit harder to win." Rondinone said that the team used the experience to determine goals for the rest of the season. The team met all of its early-season goals, which Rondinone said included beating its record from last year, winning more games, and qualifying for the state tournament.

Rondinone said that after the team's comeback win against Wethersfield, the team is now back to where it was during the winning streak. "We beat them 63-42 and we got back to what we believed in as a team and playing the game we feel is going to be successful." Rondinone told his players he was still not satisfied with the win. "In the first half, we were trailing. We came out in the second half with better ball movement and transitional movements to three-pointers," Rondinone said.

Going forward to their next game against South Windsor, Rondinone said that the team will work on the mentality of the game. "When the game gets too fast, you're thinking too fast. If we can slow the way we see the game, we can put pressure on South Windsor.”

Rondinone said the team is now working toward its next goal - making the Central Connecticut Conference tournament by being one of the top 16 teams in the conference. At press time, the team was ranked sixth, but Rondinone cautioned that it was still too early to determine whether or not they would make the tournament. "If we can keep our winning up, we have a good chance at the CCC," he said. "We're never satisfied with where we are."

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