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    Thursday, March 30, 2023

    Coginchaug holds off Bacon in Class M girls’ quarterfinals

    Colchester — Bacon Academy’s defense was up to its usual back-breaking standard, flustering Coginchaug enough to generate 20 turnovers Thursday night in the Class M state tournament quarterfinals.

    Offense, however, was another story for the fourth-seeded Bobcats, which struggled in a 45-41 loss. No. 5 Coginchaug outscored Bacon 20-5 in the second quarter, grabbed an 11-point lead in the third and held on as Bacon maintained its stingy defensive effort but fell just short.

    The teams combined to make 50 trips to the free throw line, 27 in the fourth quarter as the tension built, the offense coming free throw by free throw but not plentiful enough for Bacon to recover.

    “We would have liked to see more baskets off some of those turnovers,” Bacon coach Kevin Fennell said. “There was certainly an effort on the defensive side to get us back there. Unfortunately, the ball didn’t drop for us quite enough times.”

    “That’s how you expect a game like that to be,” Coginchaug coach Chris Watson said. “When we kind of got a lead there in the second quarter, my message at halftime was, like, ‘The lead’s not safe. This is a great basketball team.’ That was the conversation: ‘At some point this game could be tied and we’re just going to have to be ready for the moment.’”

    Marissa Nudd had 16 points in her final game for Bacon, finishing her career with 1,369 points, third all-time for the Bobcats — her older sister, Kellie Nudd is fifth with 1,235. Marissa Nudd will play next season at Division II Southern Connecticut State University.

    Chloe Shafir had 19 points for Coginchaug (21-4), which moved on to meet top-seeded East Hampton in the semifinals Monday at a site and time to be announced.

    Coginchaug led 35-24 on a layup by Shafir in the third quarter. Bacon got two free throws from Skyelyn Schoen-Rene and a basket from Alannah Baehr, both freshmen, to close the third, pulling within 35-28.

    Nudd opened the fourth quarter by scoring on the front end of a fast break to carve Coginchaug’s lead to five. With three and a half minutes remaining, the teams traded three-point plays, Shafir converting hers with 3:34 to play and Bacon’s Cara Shea responding at the 3:26 mark. That kept the Bobcats within five points at 39-34.

    Coginchaug got one free throw from Hannah Nielsen to push the lead to six, but Nudd sank both ends of a one-and-one and Shea was fouled on the front end of a break and hit both free throws to make it 40-38.

    Coginchaug was holding on to a 42-40 lead when Bacon called a timeout with the ball with 50.8 seconds to play. The Blue Devils got perhaps their biggest stop, forcing one of 22 Bacon turnovers.

    The Blue Devils got a free throw by Sophie Farr and a layup by Katie Farr, one of few field goals in the quarter, to wrap things up.

    “We did all those little things,” Watson said.

    Nudd is the only senior for Bacon, which finished 19-5.

    “She has been such a good leader to work with. She just been a great leader for the team throughout this entire season,” Fennell said, “from preseason all the way through here to this last game.

    “They’re proud of the season. I’m very proud of them. They played some great basketball throughout this entire year. ... That Coginchaug team, they played great. The effort was there for us, but at the end of the day they made more baskets than us.”


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