The Panthers have won seven straight games.
By SAL MARINO
SOUTHINGTON -- The Bristol High girls basketball team got closer to the East Suburban Conference title with an impressive victory 73-44 over Southington on Thursday.
Nikki Rowles led the Panthers (9-5, 7-3) with 16 points, which included three 3-point baskets and she pulled down seven rebounds.
Katie Casserlie chipped in with 15 and Nikita Light finished with 12.
Katie Leasure of Bristol scored nine points and all three of her field goals were from 3-point range. She grabbed seven of her team's 38 rebounds and she had 14 assists and five steals.
Shannon Burchett pulled down 11 rebounds for the Panthers.
"The kids were fired up," said Bristol coach Debbie Rowles. "We are on a seven-game winning streak and the girls are playing solid defense.
Improving: "We have some important games coming up and the kids have been improving every time out."
Rebecca Derr sparked Southington (7-8, 5-5) with 22 points. Mellissa Smith chipped in with 10 points.
Ahead 5-4, Bristol scored six straight points for a 11-4 margin. The Wildcat cut the deficit to 11-7 on a three-point play by Brandi Domer, but that was as close as they would get.
The Panthers countered with a 10-4 surge for a 21-11 lead going into the second quarter. Katie Leasure connected on a pair of 3-pointers for Bristol in the first quarter and Rowles also had a 3-point basket.
Bristol pushed ahead 25-16, then went on a 13-point run, making in 38-16 and it was never threatened again.
"It's amazing how they progressed since the first time we played them," said Southington coach John Phillips.
"We aren't a deep team and losing Lindsay Byer, who was sick, before the game, hurt us.
"Bristol is very quick and they tired us out."
The Wildcats out-score Bristol 19-16 in the third quarter but still trailed 54-37.
Derr made 11 of her 22 points during the Southington spurt.