By BRIAN JENNINGS
The Lady Knights basketball team (10-1) knocked Conard (10-1) from the ranks of the undefeated with a 59-39 victory in West Hartford on Thursday, Jan. 14.
Right from the opening tip, the Knights came out and never gave the Chieftains any room to breath. Southington built a 13-point lead by the end of the first quarter and held that lead into the half. With a 10-0 run that began late in the second quarter, Southington built it’s largest lead of the game (19 points) by the end of the third quarter, 50-31. The Chieftains never recovered.
“We just talked about maintaining the pressure,” said Southington coach Mike Forgione. “Even though we were just playing five kids, we weren’t going to try to relax. We were going to keep attacking and playing our aggressive style.”
By the end of the game, the Knights forced the Chieftains to commit 16 turnovers. Southington also out-rebounded Conard and went 16-for-19 from the free throw line, while the Chieftains went 4-for-6 from the charity stripe.
“We just felt like we had to push the ball, in order to get ahead of them,” said Janette Wadolowski. “We just kept going at it, going to the basket, drawing the fouls, and trying to get to the line.”
Wadolowski (3 steals) led the Knights with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
“We’re just so pumped,” said Wadolowski. “Coming into this, we knew Conard was a strong team, based on the other team that they’ve been beating. We just had to lock down and play with all our heart. We knew they had the numbers and the subs, so you just have to leave it all out on the court.”
Southington wasn’t just a one-man show. Meehan torched the net from beyond the perimeter, totaling 19 points on four three-pointers. Sarah Minkiewicz (6 rebounds) contributed with 11 points, and Kayla Kavanagh scored six.
Nicole Kradas led Conard with 11 points.
“We talked about playing three big road games in about 10 days,” said Forgione. “We had to go to Glastonbury and Farmington, but tonight we had to be at Conard. In those two first games, the kids played really hard, shared the ball, and played team basketball. We knew this was going to be a similar test tonight.”
Forgione said that he couldn’t say enough about his girls’ effort.
“The kids are just battling every night and playing for each other,” the coach said. “They’re excited to be here, and it was a great win.”
The victory came on the heels of a 63-50 win over Hall (5-7) at home on Monday.
Wadolowski (4 steals) paced Southington with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Meehan (3 steals) scored 20 points, including four three pointers. Natalie Wadolowski (6 assists) contributed six points with 10 rebounds, and went 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Kavanagh (7 rebounds) also had six points and went 4-for-4 from the charity stripe.
Amber Raisner led the Warriors with 21 points.
The Knights wrapped up the week with a comfortable 40-26 win over Wethersfield (7-4) at home on Saturday.
Meehan anchored the Knights offense with 19 points and went 4-for-5 from the free throw line. The Wadolowski sisters each scored 10 apiece. Natalie (7 steals) grabbed eight rebounds and Kavanagh (3 steals) snatched seven. Janette (3 assists) went 4-for-4 from the free throw line.
Alexis Gwynn led the Eagles with 15 points.
The Knights will look to fight for better seeding in the tournament and keep their six-game winning streak going when they visit Manchester (5-6) on Friday, Jan. 22.