Girls basketball: Thacker part of Law's future
As a freshman performer on the Jonathan Law girls basketball team, Samara Thacker is a large part of the future plans for head coach Dan Young.
Thacker showed that the present is just as vital for the Eagles when she made one of two free throws with 3.4 seconds remaining in Law’s come-from-behind 52-51 Southern Connecticut Conference first-round play-off win over 14-7 Amity Regional.
Law won this game, its 11th victory as opposed to 10 losses, without the benefit of a single field goal in the game’s final eight minutes. In their final stretch run, the 13th-seeded Eagles went to the line 16 times and converted 13 of them in downing the No. 4 seeded Spartans, who received 22 points from senior guard Elise Graham.
Ironically, it was Graham who fouled Thacker in the lane in the game’s frantic closing seconds. With the game tied at 51-51, Thacker calmly stepped to the line, knocked down the first shot, then launched an air ball on her second attempt. Law’s defensive effort, which forced 16 turnovers, held up on Amity’s final possession.
“We simply stuck to our game plan,” said an exhausted Young afterward. “We knew Amity had speed. If they could continue to get the ball to either Graham or Dragan (Molly) that we could be in for a long night.
“To win this game without making a field goal in the final quarter, shows you how well these girls played defensively tonight. I’m really proud of their performance. We preserved all year long, through injuries and tough losses. This is a great win for us.”
In all, Law had to overcome an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter, one in which the Eagles entered trailing 43-39. Dragan, who finished with 12 points, made it 47-39 by knocking down a pair of jumpers within the first two minutes of the frame.
Going with a zone press, however, the Eagles began their comeback and got the first of two free throws from Jessica Centore at 5:59 making the score, 47-41. Three more points from the line, all by Laura Dulin, cut Amity’s lead to 47-44, and, when Erin Saley made two more, Law found itself trailing 47-46 with 4:30 left.
Amity’s Alexa Gibbs broke the Eagles’ streak of points with a basket, pushing the Spartans out front 49-46. But another free throw by Dulin and two more by Saley created a 49-49 deadlock with 2:54 to play.
Graham scored her final points of the game by hitting two free throws with 2:43 left as the Spartans took back the lead, 51-49. With two minutes left, Amity’s Melanie Hauser fouled the Eagles’ Paige Szygiel and she connected on both shots, once again tying the game, this time at 51-51.