Lauralton-Newtown game story
It took the Lauralton Hall basketball team a good eight minutes to forget about the fact that it was playing the defending Class LL state champions in its season opener on Dec. 5.
Trailing Newtown High, 15-12, the Crusaders revved it up and started playing their style of basketball and rolled to a 55-38 win over the Nighthawks.
Lauralton Hall, which had a 22-3 record last year, outscored Newtown 43-23, over the remaining three quarters and received balanced scoring in the process.
Emma McCarthy had 13 points from her guard position, post player Olivia Levey had 10 points and 15 rebounds, while Carly Fabbri tacked on 10 points. Michelle DeSantis and Maureen Connolly chipped in with nine points each.
“We looked like we were playing in a fog out there at the start,” said second-year coach Amanda Forcucci. “That wasn’t Lauralton Hall basketball. Our kids were thinking too much about them and the fact that they had won a state title last year.
“I had to burn a couple of timeouts early to get them motivated. And they got motivated.”
McCarthy’s basket cut the Newtown lead to one, 15-14, before she fed Connolly for a fast-break hoop and a 16-15 lead. It was one they would only build upon.
Lauralton Hall went on an 11-4 run, topping it off with a pair of 3-pointers by Fabbri for a 31-21 halftime lead. The Crusaders pushed their advantage out to 15 points, 45-30 after three quarters before winning by 17.
“That second quarter was a complete turnaround for us,” Forcucci said. “These kids did a great job of motivating themselves. They’re simply not going to settle for anything less than 100 percent from themselves out on the floor.”
Forcucci loved the way her team, “got going.”
“We played some good old-fashioned basketball,” she said. “We ran the pick-and-roll and looked for open shots. And we have shooters. We also played some very good defense.”
Bridget Power led Newtown with 11 points and Sarah Lynch had eight for the Nighthawks, who graduated three starters off of their state championship team.
“After that first quarter, I thought we lost some of our intensity,” Newtown coach Jeremy O’Connell said. “Then they (Lauralton Hall) did a good job of hitting their shots. They kicked the ball out well and found the open person.
“What we didn’t do was quit. That was important. But we’ve got some work to do. I know that we’re going to get better with time.”
Lauralton Hall shot 37 percent for the game (19-of-51). Shooting was one of the Nighthawks’ downfalls, as they were only 11-of-45 (24 percent).
The Crusaders, behind Levey, also held a commanding edge, 45-30, in rebounding. Each team committed 23 turnovers.
Lauralton will host Notre Dame Friday and Weston High Tuesday. Both games are at 7 p.m.