Foran Lions split first two games

A summer and fall filled with hard work at her game could very well be the key stepping stones to a big winter for Foran High’s point guard Teneya McLaughlin.

McLaughlin, who will play next year at Assumption College (Worcester, Mass.) took command Friday night, scoring 10 of her team-high 18 points when it counted most, in the fourth quarter, and led the Lions to a 49-36 Southern Connecticut Conference victory over North Haven at the Edna Fraser Gymnasium.

The win came two days after a season-opening 59-40 road loss to Lyman Hall of Wallingford.

“We did so well in our scrimmages and won most of them by wide margins,” McLaughlin said. “We went into the game with Lyman Hall thinking we’d win. Tonight, we all decided that we weren’t going to lose this game.”

Along with her 18 points (on a 9-for-13 shooting night), McLaughlin picked up five assists and had two steals.

North Haven pulled to within a point, 25-24, with a little over two minutes left in the third quarter on a pair of free throws by junior guard Jill Johnson, who took game scoring honors with 27.

But the Lions went on a 8-2 run over the remaining 2:24 of the period to lead 33-26 going into the final eight minutes.

That’s when McLaughlin really showed her game.

“I’ve seen her make great improvements as I’ve coached her,” said Foran’s head coach Scott Nails. “Tonight, she simply decided it was time to take over a game, and she did.

“She’s a true point guard and the leader of our offense. Her ability to change speeds, then stop and shoot can give other team fits.”

That thought was echoed by North Haven coach Chris Barry.

“We started out in a zone, hoping to make it tough inside for their big players (Taylor Ceballos, Kyra Blacketter and Lucy Weissauer), then we went to a box-and-one to isolate pressure on McLaughlin, but once they got that big lead late we had to switch again.

“McLaughlin is a special kid. It’s hard to stay in front of her. I think our kids burned up so much energy defensively that they didn’t have enough to have enough left to generate a good offensive game.”

Other than Johnson who hit on 8-of-22 shots, including four 3-pointers, the team’s overall shooting was only 10 out of 50.

Meanwhile, Foran hit on 20 of 47 and held a huge margin on the boards, 54-22. Foran did commit 21 turnovers to 16 for North Haven, which, like Foran, is also 1-1.

Ceballos, who scored 11 points, pulled down 15 rebounds while Blacketter had 10.

Overall, Nails was pleased with his teams’ effort.

“We have our two, big guns (McLauglin and Ceballos),” he said. “But you also need other players who’ll come to the party. We had that tonight.”

Foran will host Wilbur Cross Friday at 7.

The Lions join Jonathan Law, Stamford and Westhill in a Holiday Tounament on Dec. 26, and Dec. 28.