Bauman sets East Lyme career scoring record in ECC tourney win over NFA
Norwich — When Megan Bauman works out on occasion with Sam Cheung, UConn Avery Point men's basketball coach and family friend — as well as a former point guard himself — he gives her an additional stipulation, one that's not found in any rulebook.
The only time a free throw counts is when it swishes.
That has come to describe a lot of Bauman's shots recently for the East Lyme High School girls' basketball team, particularly in the third quarter Thursday night when she scored a decisive 13 points to help lift the Vikings to a 54-47 victory over Norwich Free Academy in the quarterfinals of the Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I tournament.
Bauman finished with 25 points overall, 12-for-15 from the free throw line, in the victory.
With her first two points of the night, a drive down the left baseline and a swish, Bauman, a senior, became East Lyme's all-time leading scorer. She finished the night with 1,302 points, eclipsing the mark of 1,278 set by Jenna Schumacher in 2014.
No. 5 East Lyme, which split with No. 4 NFA during the regular season, goes on to meet top-seeded New London in the semifinals at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Plainfield High School. No. 2 Stonington will face No. 3 Bacon Academy in the first Division I semifinal at 3:30 p.m.
"In the first half we were a little flat," Bauman said of Thursday's game, which was tied 22-22 at halftime. "We knew we had to pick up the energy if we wanted to win this game. We had to pressure them and get some buckets off those steals.
"(The scoring record has) been in my head, but we just had to focus on our game plan for NFA. We've had trouble on that floor before; we were just thinking about winning. We just had to keep our composure."
Katie Durkee scored eight in the first half for East Lyme (13-8), a half which was dotted with 10 lead changes, flipping on nine straight baskets.
NFA's Carsen Keith scored to start the second half to give the Wildcats (10-11) back the lead, but Durkee answered with a 3-pointer which gave East Lyme the lead for good at 25-24.
That was the start of an 18-0 run for the Vikings, nine straight for Bauman, who hit a 3, was fouled and sank a pair of free throws, swished a pull-up jump shot and scored off a loose ball to give East Lyme a 34-24 margin.
East Lyme outscored NFA 20-8 in the quarter to take a 42-30 lead.
NFA pulled within two points twice late, the first on a shot by Maddy Perrino from the right corner to make it 48-46 with 1:22 to play, but Bauman went 4-for-6 from the free throw line in the final 1:17 to pad the lead.
"That's something I practice every workout," Bauman said of free throws, having gone 12-for-12 from the line in a recent win over RHAM, "when I'm tired, knowing how to make them."
Bauman becomes East Lyme's all-time leading scorer for the girls' program in the same season that fellow senior Dev Ostrowski broke the school's all-time boys' record. Bauman and Ostrowski were both nominees this season for the McDonald's All American Games.
"She was pretty collaborative in the huddle with me," East Lyme coach Sal Fiorillo said of Bauman during Thursday's game. "She wanted to run a screen-and-roll with Nadia (Tarhini) and we got some good things out of that.
"To be the all-time leading scorer is a huge accomplishment. And a lot of people don't know she has over 400 assists in her career, too."
During the regular season, NFA beat East Lyme 57-45 on Jan. 16 in Norwich and East Lyme won 58-57 on its home floor, Jan. 29.
Fiorillo said East Lyme's defense Thursday was not only its best against NFA, but its best of the season.
Durkee added 11 points for the Vikings, including three 3-pointers. Jenissa Varela finished with 16 points for NFA and Riley Ellington had 12.
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