Lauralton off to fast start

It was business as usual for the Lauralton Hall basketball team when the Crusaders returned from Bunnell High in Stratford with a 69-45 victory on Dec. 21.

“That was one of our goals just to start out early off the tip, execute our plan to run and get easy baskets.” said Lauralton Hall coach Amanda Forcucci.

“That’s basketball.You’ve got an inside game and you’ve got an outside game, you can do something with it so I’m very blessed to have the kids there.”

Emma McCarthy led the Crusaders with 26 points. Fellow senior Carly Fabbri added 14. Junior guard Maggie Salandra scored 10 points.

Bunnell’s Erin Koletar, with five 3-pointers, and Jessica Bodgwicz were the leading scorers for Bunnell with 17 and 11 points respectively. Center Shannon Hofmiller added six points.

Lauralton (2-0) got off to a hot start, going on a 14-2 run thanks to six McCarthy points and two 3-pointers from Fabbri.

Leading 18-6 after one, the Crusaders continued to drive to the hoop with layups from McCarthy and Salandra. Bunnell kept fighting, with four points in the paint from Hofmiller and five from Bodgwicz to make it a 36-15 game at the half.

The Lady Bulldogs matched the Crusaders shot for shot early in the third period, with two 3-pointers from Koletar, before the Crusaders took off on their second run of the game, this one 14-0.

Fabbri started with a three and then McCarthy had four points inside. Connolly added a layup before Salandra had a steal and two buckets to give Lauralton a 54-21 lead.

Bunnell responded with a 7-0 run to end the third quarter and make it a 54-28 game heading to the fourth.

Bunnell matched Lauralton in the final period, answering with layups from sophomore guard Caitlin Carrafiello and Koletar threes.

The Crusaders’ duo kept scoring — McCarthy with four points early and Fabbri with a jumper — before Lauralton rested their starters.

Bunnell kept working, outscoring Lauralton 17-15 in the final quarter with eight points from Koletar.

“Honestly, all eleven of them tonight, they have this competitive spirit, whether its defensively or offensively,” Forcucci said. “It’s always like hyper-drive all the time. That helps defensively, because one kid gets a steal then another kid is like I want to get a steal so it’s really nice to have that.”

Lauralton opened its season with a 50-45 win at Newtown.

The Crusaders will play Ledyard in the first round of the Mercy Tournament at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 27, in Middletown.

The title and consolation games are at 5 and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 28.

Lauralton visits Notre Dame of Fairfield on Jan. 1.