Girls basketball: Lady Lawmen split SCC games

The clock is constantly ticking for the Jonathan Law girls basketball team in its bid to finish strong and qualify for the CIAC Class L state tournament.

After losing nine of its first 11 games in nail-biting fashion, the Lady Lawmen bounced back last Thursday with a 64-31 Southern Connecticut Conference Oronoque Division home win over North Haven.

It marked only the third time that Law had played during the current season in the James Richetelli Sr. Gym.

"We're a very young team who struggled through our first 11 games," said coach Dan Young. “So, from here on through every home game is super important. We have five of them left in our final eight games. It's really nice being able to play at home."

That stretch began Monday with a game against Sacred Heart, a team that the Lady Lawmen were beaten by 45-42 back on Dec. 16. This time around Pacers won, 55-49.

The contest against North Haven, a team that fell to 1-11 and 0-4 in the Oronoque under third-year coach Raymond Degnan, was never in doubt.

Law's Samara Thacker got off to a strong start, scoring the game's first three points while finishing with six in the quarter and a team-high 18 to equal her best for the season.

Law led 11-2 after one and 24-15 at the break. North Haven had its best point production in the second quarter. The Lady Lawmen, however, had a big second half, outscoring the Indians, 40-16.

Thacker, along with fellow sophomores Cali Jolley and Fallon Andriolas, are the catalysts behind the team’s ability to score in transition. Law converted 21 field goals, with better than half of them coming off the fast break.

"We knew tonight if we got them to turn the ball over (North Haven had 23 turnovers), we'd get our share of transition baskets," Thacker said. "We used our overall team speed to push the ball well. We did what we can do well tonight. We're trying to enjoy each win, but not let our emotions get either too high or too low."

Degnan's team felt the sting of Law's defensive play.

"For us, we had a decent first half," he said. "Like Law, we're a young team (with only four seniors and 13 to 14 players who are either sophomores or freshmen). Once their good players forced the issue tonight, we were in trouble. They picked the pace up in the second half and we couldn't stay with them."

Joli scored 14 points and Andriolas, Law's best inside player, contributed 12 along with eight rebounds and four assists. Law held a commanding lead in caroms, 51-35. Both Thacker and center Kennedy Kopazna had five rebounds each. Thacker's scoreline consisted of five field goals (one from three-point range) and a seven-of-13 performance from the foul line.

"Samara's game is improving with each game," Young said. "She's gotten much more aggressive and has worked hard on her shot. We also had nice balance tonight. Both Cali (Jolley) and Fallon (Andriolas) have the ability to score close to twenty points on a given night."

Law finished on a 21-of-53 shooting night. North Haven made 10 of 38 attempts.

In a foul-filled game, Law knocked down 19 of 28 tries with North Haven connecting on 7 of 14.

North Haven was led by senior guard Arianna DelVecchio's 13 points.

"The key to how well we've done and will continue to do will come through our defense," said Young, who used both a 2-3 and 1-2-2 zone against the Indians. "We have to stay disciplined on defense. I thought tonight we cut off their passing lanes well and forced them into either bad shots or bad decisions on passes. We don't need to always use pressure to get in transition. We can get it out of our half-court defense."