When Fitch/Stonington's Pat Nowak broke the 100-yard breaststroke record at the Eastern Connecticut Conference swimming championship in March and was later named The Day’s 2017 All-Area Swimmer of the Year, I had questions for former...
Montville sophomores waited for this chance
It was kind of tough for Jamie Hill to find a spot on the floor at Montville High School last year, that's all.
The girls' basketball team, on which Hill was a freshman, had seven seniors. One of those seniors was Stephanie Jones, who happened to play the same position as Hill, shooting guard. Jones was all-conference, a member of The Day's All-Area Team, team Most Valuable Player and left with the second-most 3-pointers in a career at Montville.
And so Hill waited.
On Thursday, she was named Most Valuable Player as the Indians (6-1) won the Enfield Rotary Tournament, scoring 22 points in a 49-27 victory over Fermi. Hill also had 19 points against Stafford in the tournament the night before.
"Through no fault of her own," Montville coach Derek Wainwright was saying Thursday night of Hill's wait through her freshman season. "She was basically our 10th kid. … She's a pure shooter. I think the best shooter I've had besides her is (former all-state pick) Caitlin Quinn."
Cassidy Bundy, the Indians' center, is also a sophomore. She had eight points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in the championship game in Enfield and also made the All-Tournament Team.
The Indians have embraced their younger players, Wainwright said.
"The older kids have really bought into the idea. They buy into the team concept and 'let them score,'" Wainwright said of the sophomores' emergence. "It's coming together well. The kids are filling their roles. I think we could have something nice this season."
Bundy, like most young centers, is still working on her offense, allowing it to catch up with her defense.
"Most big kids' offense kind of follows their defense," Wainwright said. "She can dominate a game and score no points. But her offense has improved 1,000 percent from last year."
Wainwright calls Bundy a "basketball kid" and said that during a trip to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., during what was an overnight trip to Enfield for the Indians, Bundy was one of the most knowledgeable players on the team.
"She didn't start last year either," Wainwright said of Bundy. "… (Against Fermi), we ran an out of bounds play. She kicked it out to the wing where Jamie hit a 3-pointer, but before she could hit the ground to have the instinct to kick it out … that was one of the nicest plays I've seen us make in a long time."
Norwich Free Academy girls' basketball coach Bill Scarlata, after his team beat New Britain 25-16 Thursday night (the teams have combined to play in 13 Class LL state championship games since 1996):
"High school sports is cyclical. You have a lot of up-sides and down-sides. We're struggling with some underclassmen right now and they're struggling with seniors. (New Britain hasn't) been themselves; sometimes it just takes time.
"It was a combination of things: we turned the ball over too much against very little pressure, we shot too quickly and the ones we did take we didn't make. And they were worse. They had four baskets and three of those came in the last three minutes of the game.
"You get ulcers, I know that. It was that bad, horrible to watch."
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