Unbeaten New London routs Bacon Academy 62-31

New London — New London's Spencer Roman scored five points on Friday night.

The points don’t matter much to Roman. Steals and assists do.

“I prefer the steal, and I prefer getting it out to my teammate,” Roman said after the unbeaten Whalers ground up Bacon Academy 62-31 at Conway Gymnasium. “I love the assist.”

Roman had a team-high five assists with five rebounds and three steals.

“I’ve never been a person to score first,” Roman said. “I’m always going to look to pass. I know sometimes I have to be a little more selfish, but I know I can trust my teammates.

“I focus most on my defense. I know I need to get more confidence on offense. … but I also want to be that role player that my coach will depend on, knowing that I can make the pass; the smartest pass, not the flashiest pass, to get the best shot.”

That team-first attitude has helped the second-ranked Whalers stay unbeaten (13-0). They finished with 20 assists (on 28 field goals) with 17 steals.

“Isn’t that great how they’re thinking that way?,” New London head coach Holly Misto said of the team’s unselfishness.

Roman’s all-purpose game has been needed a little more of late because of injuries, too.

“She’s been put in a little bit of a tougher position this year because of some injuries,” Misto said. “She’s had to play the four (power forward). I can put her at the four. I can put her at the three (small forward). I can put her at the two (off-guard). That versatility is very helpful.”

The defending Class LL state champions received significant contributions from a cast of many. Xaryia Melendez scored a game-high 23 with eight rebounds (six offensive) and Rosi Nicholson had 13 points, four assists and three steals.

Tai Pagan had eight points, six rebounds and four steals (the latter which isn’t too shabby for a center) for New London, Leilani McClellan had eight points, four assists and four steals, and Cora Sawyer had four assists and three steals.

“I don’t think we have any superstars,” Misto said. “Everybody is contributing.

“They’re all getting on the floor, diving for loose balls. They’re all getting down-and-dirty and playing defense. It’s a pleasure to coach that when you have that.”

Cassidy LaSaracina scored nine for the Bobcats (9-4).

Bacon actually had an 11-8 lead before New London took the game by the throat. Melendez made two free throws and a short jumper to tie the game at 12.

Nicholson followed with a short jump shot of her own. Roman’s 3-pointer pushed the Whalers’ lead to 17-12 with one minute, 58 seconds left in the first quarter.

New London opened the second quarter with three straight steals (two by Pagan) for six points. It outscored the Bobcats 19-4 that quarter.

“We’ve had a lot of people who’ve been out with injuries and sickness,” Roman said. “We’re finally playing with each other again, so it was a little hard getting back into that rhythm.

“We had to pick up our defense to get the game going our way.”

n.griffen@theday.com

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