Norwalk beats Amity in double OT in state second round

NORWALK — There was no specific play drawn up during the timeout before Amity went to the line with the game tied and 7.2 seconds left in the second overtime.

Norwalk coach Ricky Fuller just told his team to get the rebound and find the open player down court.

That is just what the Bears did as Belinda Hunte dribbled past midcourt, passing up to a streaking Naeva Rene who caught the pass on the run, laying it in as time ran out and giving No. 7 Norwalk a 70-68 double-overtime victory over No. 23 Amity in the CIAC Class LL second round.

Norwalk will travel to Middletown to take on No. 2 Mercy — which beat No. 13 Stamford 56-40 — on Monday in the quarterfinals.

For the Bears, the thrill of moving on was hard to put into words after an exhausting six quarters of basketball.

“There was no play drawn up, it was just ‘Get the ball and shoot it,’ ” Rene said. “It’s crazy. This is a great feeling and I love that my team is able to go to do this. I love my team very much.”

Amity led 31-22 early in the third quarter before a 9-0 Norwalk run put them ahead for the first time all night and closed out the third quarter on a 22-6 run, leading by 7 after three.

Norwalk eventually opened up a 9-point lead in the fourth, but it was Amity going on a 9-0 run of its own, tying the game.

“I am so proud of us from start to finish. We really came together these last few games and started playing Amity basketball,” Amity coach Michelle Shoop said. “We knew that down nine all we had to do was get one point at a time. We knew Norwalk was going to be a tough competitor and we wish them luck going on.”

In the second overtime with Amity trailing by two, Jillian Martin sank two of three free throws with 45 seconds left, tying the game.

Martin was fouled again, this time at the top of the key with 7.2 left but missed both free throws, setting up Rene’s heroics.

Martin led Amity with 19 points.

Ashley Wilson, Norwalk. The Bears would never have made their second-half run without Wilson going off from downtown where she nailed six 3-pointers in the game, five of which came in the second half or overtime. Wilson finished with a game-high 25 points.

“Great game. It’s tournament time, survive and advance,” Fuller said. “We only lost one time all year at home and I reminded them of that and I think that gave them a little push. We know we’re going up against Mercy and that’s a big task but we’re going to try and find a way.”

Amity had two starters and their sixth man foul out during the overtime sessions, leaving them shorthanded.