Feb. 24—MONTVILLE — Tim Strong knew that last season's accomplishments — a 14-6 record and the first league title of any kind since 1977 — would one day force Montville High School into a tougher schedule.
The COVID-19 basketball season has left Montville's schedule more geographic than by program strength, leaving the Indians against more of the league's iron than they'd perhaps like in 2021.
All of which made Tuesday even more frustrating for Strong's program. The Indians had an opportunity against winless Bacon Academy in an Eastern Connecticut Conference South Divisioin game, but had to play without injured leading scorers Bernard Hawkins and Antonio Brown.
Result: Bacon 85, Montville 41.
"Bacon played really well. Totally outplayed us," Strong said. "I'm not going to say that if we were healthy we'd have necessarily won this game. Bacon made a ton of shots and forced us into a lot of turnovers. They were hungrier than we were."
Sam Blumberger led the Bobcats (1-3) with 21 points.
Bacon had lost twice to Waterford by 17 and 27 points but was more competitive in Saturday's 4-point loss to East Lyme.
"This was just huge for us," Bacon coach Craig Kupper said. "The guys have really had a lot of positive energy this season. I'm glad they got a good return for it."
Nine different players scored for Bacon, which used a 32-6 run in the first half to take control. James Anderson scored 13, and Dillon Rakowski and Luke Grimord had 11 apiece.
"We've been stressing 'share the ball,'" Kupper said. "Don't be selfish. Share it. We've got guys that can actually score."
Freshman Armanee Davis led the Indians with 11 points. Isaiah Gallagher and Nehemiah Owens had eight apiece.
"For the most part, we're as positive as we can be," Strong said. "We're hoping to get our guys back soon. Right now, it's critical that we can get a practice in with all our guys. We've haven't had one yet this year with everyone healthy."
But as the rest of the league illustrated Tuesday, redemption can be the next game away, evidenced by Ledyard's big win on the road at NFA — after a 22-point loss to St. Bernard on Saturday.
"We've hung in there," Blumberger said. "It was definitely disappointing to have an 0-3 start."