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    Sunday, April 14, 2024

    Lyman advances to the S quarters in girls’ basketball

    Lyman Memorial’s Phoebe Carpenter (12) and Old Saybrook’s Kylie Lake (23) fight for a rebound during the second round game of the girls’ basketball CIAC state tournament Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, at Old Saybrook High School. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Lyman Memorial’s Jenny Lopez (5) drives the ball downcourt against Old Saybrook’s Sanai Baker (20) during the second round game of the girls’ basketball CIAC state tournament Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, at Old Saybrook High School. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Lyman Memorial’s Kelsey Dunnack (4) goes up for a shot during the second round game of the girls’ basketball CIAC state tournament against Old Saybrook Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, at Old Saybrook High School. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Lyman Memorial’s Phoebe Carpenter (12) goes up for a shot against Old Saybrook’s Kylie Lake (23) during the second round game of the girls’ basketball CIAC state tournament Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, at Old Saybrook High School. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Old Saybrook — Phoebe Carpenter, the 5-foot-11 junior, has giant mitts for hands, which she generally uses to defend the Lyman Memorial High School net as its goalkeeper during girls’ soccer season.

    Carpenter played defense on the basketball court Thursday night like she was in goal, three blocked shots and deflections here, there and everywhere.

    And then Carpenter stood on the free throw line with 3.8 seconds remaining, turning a one possession game into a 39-35 victory with one perfect free throw in two chances as No. 10 Lyman Memorial eliminated No. 7 Old Saybrook from the Class S girls’ basketball tournament.

    Persistent defense, just enough offense.

    “I just had to listen to my team and my coaches and just keep my composure really and play for my team,” said Carpenter, who picked up her third foul with 8 seconds to play prior to halftime. “Just play very smart as a player and keep my hands up.

    “I think (the win) was just sticking together with each other, keep picking each other up and everything. We just had to play for each other and not ourselves.”

    The Bulldogs (16-8) advanced to the quarterfinals, where they will travel to play at No. 2 Thomaston on Monday. It’s the first trip to the quarters for Lyman under third-year head coach David Lopez.

    Carpenter, who stepped back to hit three back-breaking 3-point field goals in the game, finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Fellow junior Jenny Lopez, the Bulldogs’ playmaker at point guard, had seven points, eight rebounds, seven steals and six assists.

    “The girls believe. They’ve bought in. They’re working super hard,” David Lopez said of his team. “They give me everything they’ve got.

    “In the beginning of the season, we weren’t rebounding as good so we put a very big emphasis. The last two games we’ve done a really good job; today was one of the best jobs that we’ve done as a team rebounding the ball. It made a difference between us winning and losing, being able to keep them to one possession.

    “(Old Saybrook) is a really tall team. Just across the board, they’re super tall.”

    Lyman started the first quarter missing several layups but banking in three 3-point field goals, one each by Lopez, Carpenter and Kelsey Dunnack. The Bulldogs led 11-10 at the end of one and 21-17 at halftime, getting a layup from Carpenter distributed by Lopez.

    Old Saybrook brought the energy to start the second half, opening with an 8-0 run on a 3 by Nora Kulmann and a putback and a 3-pointer from Breleigh Cooke to give the Rams, playing in front of a sizable student section in their home gym, a 25-21 edge.

    But Lopez returned the fire for Lyman, answering with a driving layup and getting fouled the next time down the floor, missing from the foul line but setting the tone.

    Carpenter hit a 3 to make it 26-25 in Lyman’s favor, hit one free throw and freshman Makayla Piaseczny finished a 8-0 run with a jump shot. The Bulldogs led 30-29 after three quarters.

    Old Saybrook took the lead one more time on a putback by Kylie Lake, 31-30, but Lyman sophomore Amelia Heinzman’s 3 put the Bulldogs back on top for good and Piaseczny made it 35-31 on a fast break layup with 6:02 to play.

    Old Saybrook scored the game’s final field goal with 1:45 remaining to pull within 38-35. From there, the teams engaged in a series of turnovers.

    Finally, with 6.7 seconds to play and Lyman needing to inbound the ball, it got the ball ahead to Carpenter, who was sent sprawling from behind, sending her to the foul line with a chance to ice the win.

    “She’s just a phenomenal athlete and this isn’t even her main sport,” David Lopez said of Carpenter.

    Lopez’s sons, David Jr. and Jaiden, were both 1,000-point scorers at Lyman. Now their sister, Jenny, who fills the stat sheet nightly for the Bulldogs, is on track to join them. Whether she needs to stir things up or quiet them down, Jenny Lopez is the one her team turns to.

    “She steers our ship and she just controls our offense,” David Lopez said. “She brings the energy. She does so much work out there. She just gives everything she’s got all the time. I’m so proud of her.”

    v.fulkerson@theday.com

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