When the regular-season finish line is almost in sight, finishing out games becomes a top priority.
That’s exactly what Jonathan Law did on Thursday night by winning a 60-53 overtime battle with Cheshire on the Lady Lawman’s home-court.
“Our execution was off; our rhythm was off and we were a little out of sync,” said coach Dan Young. “But we pulled it together when we needed to. Sometimes, when those things aren’t working, your kids still find a way to pick it up and get a win. That’s what we did tonight.”
It was the third overtime contest of the season for Law. In the other two, they split with rival Foran.
The Devonites got balance scoring, as senior captains Samara Thacker, Fallon Andriolas and Cali Jolley had 19, 18 and 11 points, respectively.
Cheshire entered the final quarter leading, 38-37, before it’s only senior, Mia Juodaitis threw in a soft jumper in the lane, reaching the 1,000-point mark in her career. The game was stopped and the three-sport star (softball and volleyball) was acknowledged for her accomplishments.
The delay seemed to break the tempo of the game at the time. It affected the Rams more than it did Law, who went on a 5-0 run to lead 43-40 when Thacker scored from in the lane.
“We got that senior leadership tonight and Samara was a big part of it,” Young said. “When the ship began to look like it was going to sink, she kinda dragged us through that rough spot. She also became our go-to foul shooter tonight.”
That lead was only temporary. Cheshire tied it at 46 on a basket by Juodaitis with 1:21 to play.
Law came right back with a hoop by Andriolas. She then converted from the line as did Thacker and Andriolas again. Law took a five-point lead, 51-46, with 25.9 seconds left.
But the Rams rallied.
Junior Emma Watkinson made the last of her four treys, with 15.9 showing and Juodaitis calmly canned two free throws with 7.5 seconds showing to send the game into overtime.
Kaylee Clark scored quickly off the overtime tap, but it would be the last points that the 6-8 Rams would score on the night.
“We got the good start in overtime and battled them all night long,” said Cheshire coach Michelle Vieira. “What really counts, however, is the last two minutes. We couldn’t get going and they were able to force us into a fouling situation to try and get possessions.”
Law put the game out of reach on a pair of two-pointers by Jolley, followed by two free throws each from Thacker and Pam Ellison.
Juodaitis led Cheshire with 21 points and Watkinson had 14.
“We knew that Mia was going to get her 1,000 pretty soon,” Vieira said. “She came in needing 16. She’s just a phenomenal athlete, who uses her size along with finesse and great touch to be a good scorer.”
Law made 20 of 65 shots (31 per cent) while Cheshire was 21 of 58 (36 per cent).
Andriolas had 12 rebounds of Law’s 55 on the night. Watkinson pulled down 14 of Cheshire’s 46 total.
Cheshire turned the ball over 22 times facing Law’s press at times. The Lady Lawmen had 13 turnovers.
Law will take a 10-3 record into Monday night’s home game with Mercy of Middletown.
“We’re going to have to work on a few things in order to get ready for Mercy,” Young said. “We’ll need to tighten it up. But Mercy and teams like Hamden and East Haven are the ones we want to be able to compete with.”
Grace Lurz 1 0-0 3, Kaylee Clark 2 0-0 5, Mia Juodaitis 9 4-10 22, Ariana Perlini 1 0-2 2, Tess Givens 1 0-0 2, Toni Wetmore 2 0-0 5, Emma Watkinson 5 0-0 14
Totals: 21 4-12 53
Jonathan Law (10-3)
Cali Jolley 4 3-4 11, Samara Thacker 5 7-11 19, Pam Ellison 2 2-6 6, Fallon Andriolas 7 3-5 18, Maddie Lula 1 0-2 2, Olivia Kowalski 1 1-2 3, Shelby Green 0 1-2 1, Katie Konareski 0 0-0 0
Totals: 20 17-27 60
Cheshire 12 12 14 13 2 — 53
Law 13 12 12 14 9 — 60
3-point goals: Cheshire: Lurz 1, Clark 1, Wetmore 1, Watkinson 4; Law; Andriolas 1, Thacker 2