Girls basketball: Jonathan Law

The Jonathan Law girls basketball team won its season opener at home over Branford High, 55-41, on Dec. 10. With press defense and ball movement that will give anyone trouble, Law breezed to the Southern Connecticut Conference interdivision victory.

Returning four starters from last season’s team that finished 7-13, the Eagles got their season started in the right direction with the goal of making the state tournament.

Jessica Centore and Laura Dulin scored 17 points each, and Erin Saley had 13 points for Law, which never trailed. Kailee Frank and Dulin made 3-point shots and Brooke Hiatt had five points.

With a lot of the focus on Dulin, younger sister of Milford legend Casey Dulin, Saley and Centore picked up the scoring responsibilities.

“Laura is a great player, and we knew this was going to be a collective effort.,” said Law head coach Dan Young. “Erin and Jessica were tremendous tonight. It was a great team effort.”

The three captains combined to score 50 of Law’s 55 points.

After a quick start by Law, with Saley scoring the first five points in a the game, the first quarter hit a lull with the game deadlocked at 7-7. Turnovers by both teams and multiple tie-up calls broke up play.

Law played a lot of full court press, which gave Branford problems getting into any rhythm offensively. This allowed Law to go on another 5-0 run before ending the first quarter up 15-9.

The beginning of the second quarter was full of loose balls and blocking fouls, putting both teams in the bonus with 5:12 left in the first half. Branford had good ball movement with plenty of decent looks, but they couldn’t knock down many shots.

Saley had a great two-possession sequence with a great pivot post move, which led to an easy layup on the offensive end, before a great block in transition on defense. Law went into the half up 32-19.

The third quarter began with a very open style of play, with easy transition buckets for both teams. After trading scores early in the second half, Branford went on a 13-6 run led by senior Robin Norko, who led Branford with 13 points, eight of which in third quarter to cut the Law lead to 38-32.

Law scored the last three points of the period to end the third quarter up, 41-32.

The fourth quarter was dominated by grueling defense. Branford was able to climb back within six, but could never get any closer than that.

The game was stuck at 45-39 for half the fourth quarter before Law finished the game on a 10-2 run, with Centore grabbing back-to-back offensive rebounds leading to points. Law was in control from start to finish, with contributions from multiple players, suffocating press defense, and quality coaching in dead ball situations. They look poised to improve on last year’s record.

“It was a great night, great atmosphere, and a great team win,” said Young. “The girls played well. Defensively, we need to clean some things up, you can’t be sloppy and expect to win consistently in the SCC. It’s a step in the right direction.”

Law played at Sacred Heart Academy in Hamden on Dec. 16, and will play host to East Haven High on Dec. 19.