Girls basketball: Lady Lawmen defeat Cheshire Rams

The final 37 seconds didn’t go as well as the Jonathan Law girls’ basketball team would have liked, but the Lady Lawmen did enough to leave Cheshire High with a hard-fought 54-50 victory Friday night.

“That’s something we could probably say for a lot of our wins this year,” said Law coach Dan Young of his team’s close call. “We talk about just doing a couple things better than the other team because we need to. We are a tiny team and there is a lot we have to overcome. It wasn’t clean in a lot of spots.

“But we needed a rebound, we got the rebound. We needed a steal, we got the steal. When we needed the free throw, we got that.”

Law (12-3) led 52-48 with 56 ticks left on a well-executed drive-and-dish, with point guard Samara Thacker setting up Fallon Andriolas for the lay-up.

Cheshire’s Emily Yonych missed a pair of free throws, and Thacker grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 37 seconds left in the game.

That’s when things got more interesting for the Lady Lawmen than they would have liked.

Thacker, who had hit 5-of-6 free throws earlier in the game, came up empty on the front-end of two one-and-ones, and then missed two more free throws with 10 seconds left.

In the meantime, Cheshire’s Brady McQuade scored on a reverse lay-up with 23 seconds remaining to cut the Law lead to 52-50.

McQuade was driving the lane for a potential game-tying layup, but was called for a travel with 17 seconds left.

Cheshire had one final chance to tie or win the game with 10 seconds remaining, but Thacker hustled after an errant Cheshire pass, came up with the ball and fed Andriolas for a wide-open lay-up with two seconds left for the final margin of 54-50.

“It was good to get this one,” said a relieved Young. “This is a tough place to play and they’re a really good team, well-coached, good players, big players. We’re happy to get out of here.”

Neither team ever led by more than six points, and the only six-point leads came at the game’s beginning when the Rams (5-10) jumped out 6-0 and 9-3.

But Law responded late in the quarter with an 8-2 run behind four points each from Thacker (17 points, 6 rebounds) and Cali Jolley (16 points).

Law never led in the first and third quarters of the back-and-forth game, and trailed for just the opening seconds of the second and fourth quarters.

Thacker scored on slashing drive through the lane to make it 41-40 Law with 7:35 left in the game.

The Lady Lawmen increased their lead to five points, 50-45, on what turned out to be an important pair of Jolley free throws with 1:37 left.

“We are in no way a perfect team, but if we can make just that extra [play], we’ve been able to get a couple extra wins,” said Young.

Andriolas scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Law.

Pam Ellison added five markers, and Jill Hall scored two points and also pulled down eight rebounds and played tough defense against the taller Ram players.

The Lady Lawmen, winners of four straight, will try next week to pay back the three teams that beat them earlier in the season with games at home against Hillhouse on Monday, at Hamden Wednesday and at Hand of Madison on Friday.

First up are the Academics, a Southern Connecticut Conference Oronoque division foe that beat Law 66-57 earlier this month.

“We’ve had a good rivalry over the last few years with Hillhouse,” said Young. “We dug ourselves a big hole up there [earlier this month] and almost came out of it, so, we’ll be looking for that game.”