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East Lyme - East Lyme coach Bill Reagan didn't "want to sound all drab" after Tuesday night's loss to Bacon Academy.
It's just that the Bacon girls' basketball team has a way of making opposing coaches feel that way, like there's something they could do differently ... only the Bobcats keep things just out of their opponents' grasp.
"You've got to beat them. They don't beat themselves," Reagan said. "... (Taylor) McLaughlin makes the game look so simple."
It was McLaughlin, in fact, a senior closing in on the 1,000-point mark for her career, who led Bacon to victory over East Lyme, 57-43, in the Eastern Connecticut Conference Large Division.
McLaughlin, who will play at Division II Southern Connecticut next season, had 26 points, shooting 6-for-6 in the second half with the game on the line, and added five rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots as the Bobcats, ranked sixth in the state, remained undefeated in the Large Division at 5-0. East Lyme is 8-2 overall and dropped to 3-2 in the division.
Bacon (7-1 overall) was coming off a 53-50 loss to No. 7 Cromwell on Saturday, but the Bobcats had not lost back-to-back games since 2007, a fact that wasn't lost on Reagan.
"I went and watched them lose to Cromwell," Reagan said. "You're always hoping to play them coming off a win rather than a loss. They weren't going to lose two games in a row."
East Lyme, playing without junior center Rebecca McGlone due to illness, kept things close as Bacon went 0-for-11 from 3-point range to start.
The Vikings led 18-15 on an offensive rebound converted by Carynn Bartolucci and another by Sydney Swanson. But Bacon's Carlee Putnam tied it with 1 minute, 20 seconds left in the half on the Bobcats' first 3-pointer of the game and Bacon led 23-18 at the half.
East Lyme scored eight of its 13 points in the third quarter on offensive rebounds, a factor that later led Bacon coach Dave Shea to call a timeout to shout about boxing out.
But behind McLaughlin's three-point play to end the quarter, Bacon led 39-31. East Lyme's Allison Stoddard hit a jump shot to start the fourth quarter to pull within six one final time, but Lauren Elmy responded with a 3-pointer for Bacon, which went on a 13-2 run to lead 52-35.
Putnam had 11 points and Sarah Rogers nine for Bacon.
"We had good defense by Lauren Elmy on (Stoddard) and by Michaela Siver on (Jenna Schumacher)," Shea said of the win. "We started 0-for-11 from 3 but we didn't get on 'em for it because we knew sooner or later they'd hit some shots."
Shea said that gives Bacon only a "little bit" of a margin in the ECC, as Norwich Free Academy still only has one loss in the league after Tuesday night's victory over Woodstock Academy.
Swanson finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds for East Lyme, Jenna Schumacher had nine points and six assists and Allison Stoddard added six assists.
East Lyme, which beat Bacon twice last season, lost only Michelle Lagrotteria from last year's starting lineup, but the Vikings have yet to quite pick up where they left off a year ago, Reagan said.
"We're still trying different things, trying to find something that fits everybody," Reagan said. "But again, give (Bacon) all the credit."