Foran advances to first SCC semi

Teneya McLaughlin scored a game-high 21 points and Kyra Blacketter came off the bench to score a career-high 11 points as the 4th-seeded Foran High girls’ basketball team defeated 5th-seeded Guilford, 51-40, Saturday afternoon in a Southern Connecticut Conference Tournament quarterfinal match-up at Sheehan High School in Wallingford.

The victory earns the Lions (13-8) a first-ever berth in the SCC semifinal round.

Foran, which joined the SCC in 2004, faces top-seeded Career (18-3) in a semifinal game at 5 p.m. on Monday at East Haven High School.

“Since we have joined the (SCC), we have never gone this far,” said Foran Coach Scott Nails, whose team made it to the quarterfinals the last two seasons. “You have to crawl before you can walk.  We told (the girls) that it’s time to walk.”

To make it to the semis, Foran had to beat Hammonasset Division foe Guilford for a third time this season. The Indians (13-8) made it tough on the Lions, with the two teams tied 30-30 with 1:38 left in the third quarter.

With leading scorer Taylor Ceballos on the bench with three fouls, the Lions proved they are not a one-dimensional squad.

Blacketter broke the tie with a pair of free throws.  McLaughlin added a driving lay-up, and then drove and found Blacketter open underneath for a lay-up at the buzzer as Foran took a 36-30 lead into the final quarter.

Ceballos opened the fourth quarter with a basket in the paint to extend the Foran lead to eight points, 38-30.

Guilford got within four points, 40-36, with 5:33 left, but Blacketter converted an Alex Librandi pass for a basket, and Librandi made a free throw to extend the Foran lead up to seven points, 43-36, with 4:49 left in the game.

The Indians got back within five points, but McLaughlin answered with a runner in the lane, then made six straight free throws over the final 2:08 to seal Foran’s trip to the semifinals.

See the next edition of the Mirror for complete game story.