Girls basketball: Jonathan Law makes states with win

With one week remaining before Jonathan Law was set to face cross-city rival Foran for what would be considered another contest for local supremacy, the Lady Lawmen took to the court at home against Career Magnet of New Haven last Friday night.

A good performance and ultimately a victory would be a springboard into a week of practices before meeting the Lions again (Law suffered a 60-55 overtime loss back in December). A loss or bad showing wouldn't set the course the way head coach Dan Young wants it to go.

The Panthers came into this encounter with a 2-5 record after having gone to the Class M finals last year before losing to East Haven.

Law recorded a 51-31 victory

It will take that 8-2 record into its game with Foran, who in losing to Daniel Hand, 45-34, also on Friday night, incurred its first loss after nine games. The game is set for Friday at Law at 5 p.m.

Qualifying for states with the win over Career wasn’t easy.

Law could not get going in the first eight minutes. Sluggish on offense the Lady Lawmen led by only two, 10-8, after the first session.

They needed to find a pick-me-up player for the night.

Along came Cali Jolley.

A senior forward, Jolley scored 12 of her game-high 16 points during an uplifting quarter. Law walked off the court at halftime leading 25-11.

"We just couldn't seem to get going," Jolley said afterward, emerging from the post-game meeting wearing a Providence College sweatshirt. It's a school where she recently did a tour.

"Our team is about senior leadership," she added. "We have four senior captains (Jolley, Pam Ellison, Fallon Andriolas and Samara Thacker) along with some other seniors. Our mission for the last four years has always been to motivate the younger players.

“We have always had high expectations. We always want to make sure the younger girls are also thinking in that direction."

Career used a 2-3 zone and some defensive pressure to set a tempo for the game. Unfortunately for the Panthers, they had an off-shooting night knocking down only 11 of 51 field-goal attempts (21 per cent) and connecting on only one three. In a recent loss to Sheehan of Wallingford, they hit on nine treys.

Once Law was able to get into its natural rhythm, the game turned completely in its favor.

"We're a small team (in height), probably the smallest in the Southern Connecticut Conference (SCC)," Young said. “We have to set a tempo, because, simply we're just too small to play at any other teams' pace.

"Tonight, once we got our defensive effort going, the offense fell into place. We always have to find ways to get easy buckets. We need to get running. I don't mind if we give up baskets off of our press."

Thacker scored 13 points and Andriolas had nine.

Young saw that Jolley made a significant difference on the court on Friday night.

“Cali came in focused," Young said. "And, she gave us a good effort defensively. Defense always sets the tone for our offense. Offensively, she moved into spots to get open shots."

Jolley was 7-of-11 from the field and had a pair of treys.

Overall, Law shot well, converting 21 of 46 (45 per cent) and stayed with the much taller Panthers on the boards, trailing only 37-36 in the rebound department. They were led by Jolley with six and Thacker with five.