By BRIAN JENNINGS
Southington High School rolled out the royal blue carpet for the girls in their regular season finale on senior night, Monday, Feb. 16, and the Lady Knight basketball team went out with a bang. Southington improved to 14-6 with a 54-32 win over New Britain (4-16).
“New Britain played us really tough the first time and we only beat them by six at their place,” said Southington coach Mike Forgione. “They have some athletic kids, but we felt that if we were able to attack and really go at them, we’d be able to establish the game. And we were able to do that and come out on top.”
Seniors Kaitlin Paterson and Nicole Fischer were honored before the game for their dedication, hard work, and contributions to the girl’s basketball program throughout their four years at Southington High School.
“Just two great kids,” said Forgione. “The biggest thing that we’re going to miss is their leadership, competitiveness, and pride that they have in Southington basketball. We’re glad that they’re moving on to other things, and we know that they’ll be back. So even though they’ll be playing their last year of basketball here at Southington, we’ll still see them a lot in the future.”
Fischer had missed most of the 2014-15 regular season because of an injury she had sustained earlier in the year, but Forgione had a plan in mind and made some arrangements.
“It was a real special night for our two seniors, Kaitlin and Nicole,” the coach said. “It was even more special because we were able to get Nicole out on the floor a little bit in her first game. She’s not ready to go for a full game, but it was nice to see her get on the floor, and that’s what high school athletics is all about.”
Fischer (2-for-4) made a quick bucket to start the game and ended her night with a three-pointer in the fourth quarter, finishing with five points.
Paterson (8-for-10) led the Lady Knights with 21 points, making five of the team’s six jumpers from three-point land. Natalie Wadolowski anchored the middle with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Katie Bray led the Golden Hurricanes with eight points.
The win secured a first-round home game for the Lady Knights in the Class LL Tournament.
“The one thing about our program that I’m proud about is that the upperclassmen, particularly the seniors, make everyone feel welcome,” said the coach. “All the girls in the program, whether you’re a freshman, a sophomore, or a junior, feel like they’re part of it. That’s because of the senior leadership and they really take a lot of pride in making everyone feel like their part of the program.”
The Lady Knights tried to carry their winning ways into the Central Connecticut Conference (CCC) Tournament on Thursday night, Feb. 19, with one more chance to prepare for the state tournament. The girls entered the first round as a ninth seed, taking on the eighth-seeded Beavers (14-6) from the CCC North at Weaver High School in Hartford.
The Lady Knights were defeated in their first contest of tournament play, 58-54. Paterson (8-14) led the Lady Knights with 23 points, draining seven of the team’s nine three-pointers. Wadolowski finished with 11 points and 18 rebounds.
Maggie Meehan returned to the starting lineup for the first time since sustaining an injury midway through the season. Meehan (5-for-17) helped out with 13 points. Shaquana Edwards led the Beavers with 34 points.
Forgione and his Lady Knights came into the game with one thing in mind.
“Going in, our whole game plan was to shut down Edwards,” said Forgione. “We were doing a diamond-and-one defense, doubling Edwards every time she touched the ball. In the second half, we went to a triangle-and-two defense where we chased two girls after her. Unfortunately, both defenses didn’t do a good enough job containing her, and they had a lot of second chance opportunities as well.”
Although the Lady Knights are knocked out of the CCC Tournament, they hope to bounce back in the Class LL Tournament as the No. 16 seed in a home game against the No. 17 Glastonbury (13-7) this week.