Enfield Raiders get back to their winning ways

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Thu., Feb. 7, 2013
Sophomore Ra Preston cuts the corner and drives the baseline. Photos by Colin Rajala.
Sophomore Ra Preston cuts the corner and drives the baseline. Photos by Colin Rajala.

After starting the season with 11 consecutive wins, the Enfield High School boys’ basketball team has hit a few bumps in its last few contests, compiling just a 1-2 record against the upper echelon of the North Central Connecticut Conference, home losses to the first- and third-ranked teams Avon and Granby Memorial, and an away victory over fifth-ranked Ellington.

The Raiders returned to their winning ways as they dropped the Suffield Wildcats, 49-36, behind a strong defensive effort on Feb. 5. With the win, Enfield (13-2) remains in second place in the NCCC, while Suffield (10-6) dropped into a tie for fifth.

In Enfield’s last match-up with Suffield, they trailed in the fourth quarter before squeaking out a three-point victory. The rematch looked much different, as Enfield used an 8-0 run in a lopsided second quarter, outscoring the opponents 15-6, to go into the intermission with a 12-point lead.

“We’ve been up and down all year with our defensive intensity, and when we do it, we can do it well, but we are still so inconsistent going up and down,” said head coach Cory O’Connell. “It’s not the ‘what’ we’re doing, it’s ‘how’ we’re doing it. It’s that desire to stop somebody. When they want to, they can stop anyone.”

Enfield was led by senior guard Paul Lima’s 15 points, nine of which came in the second quarter, including back-to-back three-pointers which jump-started the Raiders’ 8-0 run. Early in the season O’Connell said that if the team was to be successful, it would need a balanced scoring attack from five or six players every night. During the rematch, nine players scored for the Raiders, including four players with at least six points. Senior Josh Gaines finished the game with eight points, all of which came on three consecutive baskets in the first quarter, including back-to-back threes to give Enfield the lead. Sophomore Ra Preston and senior Kevin Camidge chipped in, scoring seven and six, respectively.

Enfield forced 18 Suffield turnovers to lead them to victory, but O’Connell said moving forward they need to do a better job turning mistakes into easy baskets if they want to make another deep post-season run.

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