Lady Spartans fall short against Sacred Heart, boys win three straight

Inconsistent play plagued the Amity girls' basketball team last Friday night against Sacred Heart Academy of Hamden. Getting off to a good start, the Lady Spartans grabbed an early 10-6 lead, but then they faded in the second period and trailed the Pacers by a single point (13-12) at the end of the first half.

The see-saw tipped back toward the Lady Spartans in the third period, but after retaking a 26-24 lead, Amity was outscored 16-6 in the final session and ended up dropping a 40-32 Southern Connecticut Conference interdivisional decision to Sacred Heart.

"Things went up and down for us all game," Amity coach Doug Fortune said. "We pressed them from the start and played good defense. I think we flustered them for a while. Offensively we shot well in the first quarter. Ashley Vargo tossed in a big three pointer. Sacred Heart (now 7-6) was very physical and never quit. They kept coming at us and we couldn't handle their aggressive play. In addition, we didn't hit our free throws, especially in the second half."

While the Pacers hit 14-of-22 foul shots, Amity was good on only three of its 14 attempts from the foul line. With this loss, the Lady Spartans saw their record slip to 4-8.

The Pacers' Ilaria Schiano was a thorn in Amity's side throughout the game. Her three sparked the Sacred Heart second period rally and then took over the game in the fourth quarter when she hit another three and added three foul shots. Shiano finished with a game-high 17 points.

"We tried to keep the ball out of her hands, but didn't do a good job of denying it to her," Fortune said.

"In the third period we were clicking again on offense but then in the fourth quarter we missed free throws and our offensive execution wasn't there. We tried to isolate Carol Ortiz underneath because she has proven at times to be unstoppable. Unfortunately, our guards didn't do their job. They didn't get the ball to her. Offensively, we were way off in the fourth quarter and we also missed a lot of defensive assignments. On top of that, our offensive rebounding was poor. We didn't get many second shots."

Ortiz ended up with eight points and seven rebounds

Boys win three straight:

Sam Markle and Brenton Roman dropped in 15 points apiece to lead the Amity boys' basketball team past Derby 70-53 Friday night in Woodbridge. Combined with Southern Connecticut Conference victories over Jonathan Law and Guilford, coach Jeff Nielsen's boys have now won three games in a row and improved their record to 6-4. Derby, coached by ex-UConn star guard Chris Smith, slipped to 5-6.

The Red Raiders jumped off to an early lead thanks to Rashann Reid's early three-pointer, but shortly thereafter, Amity answered with three from Roman and Markle to grab an 11-5 lead with 4 minutes, 5 seconds left in the first quarter.

Two minutes later, Derby had tied the score at 12. Thanks to Jason Devonchuck's jumper and a three-pointer from Josh Larue. Those would be the Raiders' final points of the opening session. Amity strung together seven unanswered points and took a 19-12 lead at the end of the period. Jason Parsley contributed a pair of scores from the paint and from the free-throw line.

Within the first two minutes of the second quarter, a pair of drives by Devonchuck enabled Derby to creep back within three points (21-18), but that would be as close as it would get. Two John D'Angelo lay-ups keyed an 11-4 Spartan spurt and a 32-22 lead with 1:20 left in the first half. Amity then went into its locker room with a comfortable 11-point advantage.

It was more of the same in the second half as the Spartans slowly but surely expended their lead. Markle and Roman once again bombed in consecutive threes and Amity's lead mushroomed to 18 points (50-32) midway into the third period.

Throughout the second half, it was never a question of who would win. The only unanswered question was how much the final margin of victory would be.

Amity hit 27 of its 48 shots (56%) from the field.

"I liked our shooting and shot selection tonight," Nielsen said. "We also moved the ball well on offense found open areas on the floor, and ran the floor well in transition to score several uncontested lay-ups. We had four guys in double figures, which gave us nice scoring balance. Fortunately, we don't have any ball hogs on this team. We looked for open guys and got the ball to them."

"Brenton (Roman) scored 19 against Guilford and gave us another good game tonight. In addition to also scoring 15 points, Sam (Markle) controlled the tempo and distributed the ball well. In addition, Kyle Kesses had a hot third period, scoring eight of his 11 points. I liked seeing him go to the hoop and not just settle for threes."

Derby connected on 22 of 48 from the floor (46%).

In addition to Roman, Markle, and Kesses finishing in double digits, D'Angelo chipped in with 10 points. Parsley added nine points and a team-high seven rebounds. Amity was outrebounded the Red Raiders 32-30 in the game. Anel Dzolta scored 11 points for Derby, while teammates Joel Moore and Greg Guerrere each popped in 10. Guerrere also grabbed 11 rebounds