Bacon comes up short in chance to repeat

Bacon Academy's Taylor McLaughlin, left, and Carlee Putnam walk off the court arm in arm while Farmington players celebrate after beating the top-seeded Bobcats 49-44 in the Class L state girls' basketball championship game Saturday afternoon at Mohegan Sun Arena. Bacon was the defending champion.

Mohegan - Taylor McLaughlin stood in front of a gaggle of reporters after she and Bacon Academy lost in Saturday's CIAC Class L girls' basketball final.

McLaughlin, sporting a medal around her neck, was dry-eyed and smiled as she put the experience in perspective.

"Yes, I'm upset we didn't win the game," the senior said after losing to Farmington, 49-44, at Mohegan Sun Arena.

"(Most) teams don't get to do this. It's not normal."

Bacon's Class of 2013 exits with one state title, two Eastern Connecticut Conference titles, and back-to-back state championship appearances at Neon Uncasville.

"There's so much to be proud of and I'm happy about the whole four years," McLaughlin said. "Everything I've accomplished and my team has accomplished. I'm not going to let one thing ruin it."

McLaughlin had a game-high 25 points and 12 rebounds for the top-seeded Bobcats (24-3). Carlee Putnam added 15 points.

Sophie Borg had 11 points and eight rebounds for No. 10 Farmington (22-5) and Courtney Hofer added seven points and 10 rebounds.

It was the Indians' first state title, and they did so by knocking off No. 2 Pomperaug of Southbury, No. 6 RHAM of Hebron and Bacon in succession.

"Coach (Russ Crist) has done so much work," Hofer said. "Every single game we knew our game plan. We went out and did what we had to do. We didn't cater to what (opponents) did. We always wanted to push the ball, push the ball.

"That's how we made our run because we knew we could win every single game. We might have been the underdog because we were the lower seed, but we knew that we were the better team every time."

Bacon had a habit of rallying late to win, something it did in last season's state title win.

The Bobcats couldn't gain enough traction to do that Saturday. Each time they scored and felt hope, Farmington quashed it with basket of its own.

"We're notoriously a slow-starting team," Bacon coach Dave Shea said. "We haven't been shooting the ball very well lately. Our defense has been okay. But I have to give Farmington a lot of credit. They made some key shots. They executed a couple of big threes."

Putnam made a jumper to cut the Bobcats' deficit to 37-31 with four minutes, 4 seconds left in the game.

The Indians' Ally Walsh answered with a putback. Brittany Belisle had a steal and turned it into two free throws to push her team ahead, 41-31, with over three minutes left.

"We'd get it going, then all the sudden they'd make a shot," McLaughlin said. "Then we missed free throws. They're a good team. To be the 10th seed, you don't expect that from a 10th seed.

"I don't know how that works because they're not a 10th-seed team."

Bacon Academy's Taylor McLaughlin (31) had 25 points and 12 rebounds in her final game, a 49-44 loss to Farmington in Saturday's Class L final.
Bacon Academy's Taylor McLaughlin (31) had 25 points and 12 rebounds in her final game, a 49-44 loss to Farmington in Saturday's Class L final.


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