The Rams just ran out of gas Tuesday night in a 52-40 loss to Bristol-Plymouth. Eleventh-seeded Upper Cape Tech (10-10) opened MIAA Division 4 South State Tournament play at sixth-seeded Bristol-Plymouth (16-5). After a tenacious first half, the score stood tied at 23-23. In the third quarter UCT poured it on and built a six-point lead at 35-29 with 2:09 left. But the Craftsmen went on a six-point run, interrupted only by a lay-up from Jason Comoletti, and then they hit a jumper with five seconds remaining in the quarter to tie the score at 37-37.
Turnovers marked the opening of the final quarter as the Rams gave the ball away on their first four possessions. Isaac Cardoso and Austin Smolinsky each hit from the free-throw line, but the Craftsmen put their height advantage to work down the stretch and shut off the inside shot. The 3-pointer that on any other night would slip effortlessly through the net for the Rams wouldn’t fall and B-P was coming down with the rebounds. The last basket that the Rams hit from the floor was Comoletti’s layup with 58 seconds remaining in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter UCT had just three points from the line.
“We got tired in the fourth quarter,” coach Roy Porter admitted. “The turnovers in the fourth and missing those 3-pointers was fatigue. I thought we played a good game against a team everybody would rank ahead of us. We played quarter to quarter, and the fourth one got away from us.”
UCT allowed the Craftsmen to take an early lead to open the game, but a couple of shots by Cardoso tied the score at 5-5. Comoletti then hit a couple from the floor for a 9-8 UCT lead at the end of one.
B-P big man Matt MacDermid stopped outside the arc and dropped in a 3-pointer to open the second quarter. The Craftsmen then scored the next seven points as they pulled out to an 18-9 lead. John Gagner set up Comoletti underneath for the Rams and then Rally Wheaton drove through the paint, banking one in. Semple picked up three points the hard way with a shot from down low that drew a foul. He then sank the free throw as UCT cut the B-P lead to 20-16.
Smolinsky and Comoletti both hit from the floor, with Comoletti’s basket down low coming off a nice dish inside from Cardoso. With 17 seconds left to play in the opening half, Ryan Semple hit one from the line to tie the score at 23-23 at the break.
The Rams had no answer for the obvious height advantage B-P brought to the floor, but the physical play of Comoletti (13 rebounds) and Smolinsky (10 rebounds) inside was giving UCT some extra chances, while the Ram 2-3 zone defense was forcing the bigger Craftsmen to settle for outside shots.
The lead changed hands three times in the opening minute of the third quarter until with 6:44 to play, Smolinsky set up Wheaton for a jumper that tied the score at 27-all. Semple then sank a 3-pointer, but the Craftsmen came right back with a layup by Jacob Gorman-Murphy. Wheaton answered with a 3-pointer from the right side baseline and then after the UCT defense stopped B-P, Wheaton knocked one in off the glass on a fast break for a 35-29 lead before the Craftsmen tied the score at the end of the third.
Trailing 43-40 with 4:36 to play, the tank ran dry for the Rams. Bristol-Plymouth scored nine points in the final 3:24, but they didn’t come easy as UCT fought for every inch of floor.
Comoletti had 14 points to finish with a double-double.