Girls basketball: Jonathan Law holds off SHA Pacers

Thanks to a hot start in the first quarter, the Jonathan Law girls basketball team defeated Sacred Heart Academy, 53-43, in Hamden on Monday.

Laura Dulin led all scorers with 14 points. Fellow senior Paige Szygiel scored 10. Allie Brennan led the Pacers with 14 points while Claudia Capozzo added 13.

The Eagles got off to a 5-1 lead thanks to layups from Erin Saley and Kailee Frank and a foul shot from Szygiel. Brennan answered with a layup, to which Saley answered with a long two-pointer. Law then got foul shots from Dulin, Saley and freshman Samara Thacker to boost its lead to 11-3. Alisyn Narracci nailed a layup for the Pacers to make it 11-5 after one.

“It’s huge for us (to get off to a good start),” Law head coach Dan Young said. “That is what we’re trying to do, set the tone on defense first.”

In the second stanza, Jessica Centore led Law off with two free throws then Sacred Heart answered with a bank shot from Caitlyn Keish and a Brennan layup. Law countered with seven straight points on two layups from Centore and Szygiel and a Szygiel three, giving the Eagles a 20-9 lead.

SHA scored on a bank shot from Kelly Mordecai but Szygiel nailed two layups to give Law a 24-13 lead at the half. Brennan started the second half on fire, nailing a three and then a layup for Sacred Heart. Dulin answered with a layup, but then Brennan hit another three.

Centore laid it up and Brennan answered with a two-point jumper. Dulin and Saley followed with layups to give Law a nine-point lead. Capozzo tallied back-to-back threes to make it a three-point game. Freshman Cali Jolley answered with a jumper and Dulin nailed a three to give Law a 40-29 lead entering the fourth.

Dulin kept the hot hand and led off the fourth with a layup. Sacred Heart followed with layups from Narracci and Capozzo to start an 11-0 run that cut Law’s 13-point lead down to four.

With time waning, the Pacers were forced to foul and sent Thacker to the line three times in the final minutes. Thacker made four of her six free throws and Law made 11 of 18 from the stripe in the fourth quarter. Thacker’s free throws, as well as those from Dulin, Frank and Saley sealed Law’s ninth victory of the season.

“They’ve been outstanding,” Young of his younger players. “We had a couple of injuries earlier in the year, so they had an opportunity to get some more playing time and that’s showing up now since we got some of our senior leaders back. We’re trying mix them all together and they’re doing a nice job.”

“It’s one game at a time,” Young said. “The SCC is really tough. Anyone can beat anybody any night so we have to bring that intensity no matter what.”