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    Sunday, March 26, 2023

    No. 1 New London, No. 3 Ledyard girls emerge from ECC Division I semis

    Plainfield — From time to time, Ledyard High School athletic director Jim Buonocore likes to tease girls’ basketball coach Mike Morgan about the Colonels’ preferred pace.

    “Like Jimmy says, we’re up nine and we play like we’re down 10,” Morgan said. “You know what I mean, just on tempo.

    “... A lot of times when I let them go, sometimes they get out of control. Sometimes, we’re going to the hoop and we’re not getting the call I think we deserve. It’s really just settling the girls down and letting them see the court for what it is.”

    Then again, fast worked just fine, as No. 3 Ledyard built a 13-point lead on the way to a 63-60 victory over No. 2 Bacon Academy during Saturday’s Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I tournament semifinals at Plainfield.

    Slow? Not so fine, as Bacon managed a comeback that knotted the score late, thanks to a barrage of Ledyard turnovers.

    Said Morgan with a chuckle: “I’m going to take that going into next game and make sure I don’t slow ‘em up.”

    Ledyard sophomore point guard Adrianna Hardison finished with 20 points and eight assists, scoring the final seven points for the Colonels over the final 3 minutes, 30 seconds.

    Ledyard (13-9) will meet top-seeded New London (16-6), the defending tournament champion, in the Division I championship game at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Mohegan Sun Arena.

    New London got 20 points, eight rebounds and seven assists from Nalyce Dudley and 21 points, 15 rebounds, four assists and two blocks from Serenity Lancaster as the Whalers topped Fitch 59-50 in the second game of the semifinal doubleheader.

    Marissa Nudd had 20 points for Bacon Academy (18-4), scoring to pull the Bobcats within 56-54 against Ledyard. Hardison, however, responded with a three-point play, going the length of the court for a layup and a foul to make it 59-54.

    Bacon then scored five straight, getting a hoop from Nudd and free throws from Emily Ferrigno and freshman Alannah Baehr to tie the game at 59 with 1:55 to play.

    Hardison’s spin and bank shot put Ledyard back in front to stay at 61-59. Katelyn Novak hit one foul shot for Bacon to make it a one-point game, but Hardison dove on a loose ball and was fouled with 46.7 seconds remaining, sinking both ends of a one-and-one for the final margin.

    Kiki Kirvin had 16 points and Cassie Rice 14 for Ledyard, including four 3-pointers. Monet Augmon added four assists and eight rebounds.

    Ledyard split a pair of regular-season meetings against Bacon Academy, falling 52-45 on Dec. 20 in the midst of an 0-5 start. The Colonels topped Bacon 51-48 on Jan. 28 at home.

    “It’s been a goal of ours,” Morgan said of reaching the championship game. “These seniors (Kirvin and Augmon), when they came in, that was always our goal to get to Mohegan Sun, whether it be ECC championships, state championships, and coming so close the last three years, it’s been draining on us.

    “The fact this was the team and the way we started, which was so bad, the fact we were able to overcome so many adversities, it was just amazing for us.”

    Kirvin tore her ACL in last year’s ECC tournament, followed by Ledyard’s narrow 70-64 loss to New London in the tournament’s semifinals.

    “It’s crazy,” Kirvin said. “My freshman year coming in, we always made it far but we were never able to finish it out.

    “It definitely is (a big win). We do better when we push the ball, so slowing down the ball is not our tempo. As you see, we made a lot of mistakes but we didn’t let that deter us. We played with poise and we still got the (victory).”

    New London won last year’s ECC Division I tournament final, beating top-seeded Bacon 66-55. On Saturday, New London coach Tammy Millsaps didn’t think her team looked like the defending champion, more like deer in headlights, she said.

    Fitch led 10-5 after the first quarter, getting a big 3-pointer from Gabby Dimock.

    Lancaster, the 6-foot-1 sophomore center who scored 40 points in a quarterfinal victory over Woodstock Academy, came back with 11 points in the second quarter for New London and the Whalers led 26-25 at halftime and 43-39 after three quarters.

    New London led 49-45 when it got a three-point play from Dudley with 2:57 remaining to push the lead to seven and the Whalers led by 11 when Dudley hit both ends of a one-and-one with 1:10 to play.

    “We had no type of continuity on offense. We just seemed like we were a bunch of individuals out there trying to figure out how to score,” said Millsaps, who also credited Fitch for providing a “tough matchup” for the Whalers.

    “We won the game so it’s my job as a coach to figure out something different when we get to the finals.”

    Mariette El Khoury and Dre’Ana Singleton each had 13 points for Fitch (14-8), with Singleton ending both the second and third quarters with last-second 3-pointers, running the show for the Falcons from the point guard position on both offense and defense. Ada Ellis added 12 points.



    Following is a list of the 2022-23 Eastern Connecticut Conference girls’ basketball award winners:

    Division I

    First team: Mariette El Khour (Fitch), Nevaeh Yorke (NFA), Emily Orcutt (NFA), Izzy Pazzaglia (East Lyme), Eva Monahan (Woodstock).

    Honorable mention: Dre’Ana Singleton (Fitch), Gabriella Dimock (Fitch), Aislinn Richmond (NFA), Dani Bruno (East Lyme), Kaylee Saucier (Woodstock).

    Scholar-athlete: Bella Chambers (East Lyme), Mariette El Khoury (Fitch), Leeya Fabry (NFA), Lennon Favreau (Woodstock).

    Sportsmanship: Ava Roach (East Lyme), Ada Ellis (Fitch), Julia Barry (NFA), Leila MacKinnon (Woodstock).

    Division II

    First team: Marissa Nudd (Bacon Academy), Kieara Kirvan (Ledyard), Nalyce Dudley (New London), Serenity Lancaster (New London), Julia Knowles (Waterford).

    Honorable mention: Cara Shea (Bacon), Katelyn Novak (Bacon), Molly Crabtree (Killingly), Adrianna Hardison (Ledyard), Monet Augmon (Ledyard),

    Scholar-athlete: Emily Ferrigno (Bacon), Cassie Rice (Ledyard), Aila Gutierrez (Killingly), Italia Salls (New London), Julia Knowles (Waterford).

    Sportsmanship: Cara Shea (Bacon), Helena Robinson (Ledyard), Aila Gutierrez (Killingly), Ky-Ani Allgood (New London), Sadie Tiven (Waterford).

    Division III

    First team: Jada Cheung (Montville), Hannah Irons (Plainfield), Rory Risley (Stonington), Hailey Flores (Windham), Aniya Jenkins (Windham).

    Honorable mention: Abby Matheson (Griswold), Morgan Yonush (Plainfield), Madelene Nordstrom (Plainfield), Emily Obrey (Stonington), Jaelize Rivera (Windham).

    Scholar-athlete: Kyle McCormack (Griswold), Emily Treat (Montville), Hannah Irons (Plainfield), Diya Patel (Stonington), Alieah Boyd (Windham).

    Sportsmanship: Natalie Becotte (Griswold), Anna Bubucis (Montville), Emily Smith (Plainfield), Mackenzie Pettegrow (Stonington), Alyssa Lebiszczak (Windham).

    Division IV

    First team: Jenny Lopez (Lyman Memorial), Phoebe Carpenter (Lyman), Lily Goyette (Putnam), Angelica Tompkins (St. Bernard), Marissa Perkins (Wheeler).

    Honorable mention: Taylor Pankowski (Lyman), Emily St. Martin (Putnam), Audrey DeFilippo (Tourtellotte), Abby Butremovic (Wheeler), Makayla Delzer (Wheeler).

    Scholar-athlete: Kassidy LaTour (Lyman), Emily St. Martin (Putnam), Leah Egan (St. Bernard), Avery Butler (Tourtellotte), Marissa Perkins (Wheeler).

    Sportsmanship: Juliana Haynes (Lyman), Sara Lackey (Putnam), Alyssa Lazarou (St. Bernard), Peyton Richard (Tourtellotte), Skyler Morgan (Wheeler).

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