H.S. roundup: Montville girls reach ECC D-II basketball title game
Plainfield — After losing to Plainfield twice during the regular season, Montville coach Becky Alfonso had a simple message for her team before Round 3 against the Panthers on Saturday.
"We've got nothing to lose," she said. "If you lose, and I hate this saying, you go home. I told them, 'You can win it,' and I think they believed me."
They sure did.
The third-seeded Indians, who scored only 10 points in the first half, dominated the second half to defeat No. 2 Plainfield 47-32 in the semifinals of the Eastern Connecticut Conference Division II girls' basketball tournament.
Montville (14-8) will play No. 5 Windham, a 39-36 upset winner over top-seeded Putnam, for the Division II title on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Norwich Free Academy. The game was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but ECC officials opted to move things up a day due to the threat of inclement weather.
Plainfield (15-7) had beaten the Indians 42-31 in Dec. 20 and 34-29 on Jan. 25.
"The first time, we didn't have good coverage on their guards," Alfonso said. "The second game, we lost by five. I knew we could play with this team.
"(The girls) said, 'We have to play Plainfield at Plainfield. They have a home game.' I said, 'So what. It's going to come down to who comes and show up ready to play.'"
Montville was certainly the better team in the second half Saturday, outscoring Plainfield 17-6 in the third quarter to take a 27-20 lead, then dominating the fourth quarter, 20-12, to pull away.
Freshman Maya Hillman led the Indians with 13 points and 23 rebounds while senior Lauren Velazquez added 12 points.
Alfonso was really impressed with Hillman's inside presence.
"Maya was two feet above everyone else," Alfonso said.
In the other semifinal, Windham (15-7) trailed the entire game and didn't take the lead until an Alyssa Figueroa layup broke a 36-36 tie with 1:08 remaining.
In other games:
• Fourth-seeded Old Lyme pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat No. 5 Coginchaug 43-37 in the quarterfinals of the Shoreline Conference tournament. Old Lyme (16-5) plays top seed Cromwell in the semifinals at Coginchaug Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Old Lyme led 11-2 after one quarter but Coginchaug came back to tie the game at 16-16 at halftime and it remained tied at 28-28 heading into the fourth quarter.
Emily DeRoehn had 12 points, seven rebounds and five steals, Emma McCulloch scored 11 and Taylor Thompson had 16 rebounds. Just as vital was the job Britney DeRoehn did defensively. The senior guard, who scored eight points, also held all-Shoreline player Jessica King to eight points.
• Seamus McGrath scored a career high 23 points as Ledyard qualified for Division II state tournament with a 60-56 non-league win over New Britain. McGrath, a senior, also had 10 rebounds for the Colonels (7-11) while fellow senior Ken Turner finished with nine points and a game-high 14 rebounds.
• JJ Brennan had 16 points, 10 assists and six steals as No. 6 Waterford put the finishing touches on the ECC Division II title with a 67-54 win over Fitch on Friday night. Kenny Hill also scored 16 points for the Lancers (18-1, 7-0), who led 60-26 after three quarters, while Payton Sutman finished with 15 points and Liam Spellman had 14 points and seven rebounds. Ajia Brown scored 14 points and Shaun Morales11 for the Falcons (10-8, 4-3).
• NFA received the top overall score (82.25) to win the ECC Division I championship at Waterford. The host Lancers (Division II) and Plainfield (Division III) were the other divisional champions. Fitch finished second to NFA in Division I with 78.4 points while East Lyme was third with 66.3. In Division II, Waterford was followed by Killingly (77.25) and New London (74.55), while Montville (70.4) was second in Division II followed Griswold (68.3). The annual Colby Sousa Spirit Award was presented to Griswold.
• Ledyard earned a pair of 5-4 wins in epee, beating New London and NFA, while NFA beat New London 8-1. In foil, NFA beat Ledyard 9-0 and New London 6-3 while Ledyard beat New London 5-4.
• NFA beat Ledyard 7-2 in epee and 6-3 in foil. Ledyard also beat New London 6-3 in foil.