For the first time since 2008, the North Haven girls' basketball team has punched its ticket to ride to the state tournament by virtue of a 39-38 victory at SCC Oronoque rival Cross on Feb.1.
The Indians led this game by seven points at halftime before getting outscored 17-12 in the third quarter, setting up a dramatic final frame. The contest remained close throughout with North Haven sophomore forward Haley Arnaoutis hitting a three-pointer with 30 seconds left to give Chris Barry's team the lead for good. Leading the charge for the Indians (8-9, 4-3) was junior captain Brie Melillo with 13 points, seven rebounds, and five steals; along with senior captain forward Gina Carbone, who scored nine with six boards and three steals.
"This wasn't our best performance, but we came out on the right side of the game and a win is a win," said Coach Barry. "We were all super-pumped and the entire coaching staff couldn't be prouder of this team to persevere from having no wins last year to getting the eight needed to make states this year."
Earlier in the week, North Haven avenged a prior loss to division foe Branford by notching a 52-42 home win against the Hornets on Jan. 29. Brooklin Davis scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Indians, who also received 14 points with seven steals by sophomore Jill Johnson, nine points from Melillo, five assists by Carbone, plus clutch free throws down the stretch from Kyle Searles. This game was tied 6-6 after one quarter before Barry's team put up 18 points in the second quarter to take a seven-point lead to halftime. Although Branford was still in the game in the fourth, Searles came off the bench to make both ends of a 1-and-1 from the stripe to seal it.
North Haven then dropped a 51-38 home decision the next night, a game which saw Johnson leave with an ankle injury in the first quarter that will keep her out of action indefinitely. Davis scored 13 with six boards, Theresa DeFalco chimed in with seven points, and Melillo scored six with five rebounds for the Indians.