By BRIAN JENNINGS
The Lady Knight basketball team advanced to the quarterfinals of the Class LL tournament for the first time since 2007 with a pair of road wins in the opening rounds. Southington took down two top-10 teams in the process.
“In the Class LL tournament, every round is going to be a battle,” said Southington coach Mike Forgione. “You’re never going to get an easy game, no matter what seed you are. It’s by far the toughest tournament, loaded from top to bottom.”
The Knights will play at No. 2 Enfield (21-1) on Thursday, Mar. 9 at 7 p.m. Enfield is coming off their first CCC title after defeating Middletown, 71-43, in the championship game. Southington is currently 14-8 overall.
Win at Ridgefield
FEB. 28—The Knights began their state-tournament run by upsetting No. 10 Ridgefield, 70-60, on the road in the first round on Tuesday.
The Tigers jumped out in front of the Knights, 22-18, by the end of the first quarter, but the Knights captured the lead, 33-28, heading into halftime and never looked back. The Knights held the Tigers to just six points in the second quarter.
“We knew that they were going to come out with that intense pressure, and our worst-case scenario happened,” said Forgione. “I told the kids that they were going to go on a run, and now we have to go on a run of our own. Even though we got down early, we knew that we were going to come back and keep battling.”
The Tigers got to within six points by the end of the third quarter, 48-42, but the Knights pulled away with 22 points in the fourth. The Knights went 20-for-25 from the foul line in the game, going 11-for-13 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter alone. The Knights also finished with eight three-pointers.
Janette Wadolowski (13 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals) paced the offense with a season high of 32 points and went 15-for-17 from the foul line, going 9-for-11 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter alone. Maggie Meehan (4 assists, 3 steals) backed Wadolowski with 21 points on a triad of threes.
Hartlee Meier (3 rebounds, 2 assists) contributed with 13 points on three triples. Madison Hulten grabbed seven rebounds.
Win at Hall
MAR. 3—In a second-straight upset, the Knights survived and advanced to the quarterfinals of the state tournament for the first time since 2007—when they were the tenth seed—after rallying in a 63-60 come-from-behind victory at No. 7 Hall on Friday.
The Knights trailed the Warriors, 36-20, at halftime, but cut the deficit to four, 46-42, by the end of the third with the help of three threes by Meehan on three-straight possessions and a half-court heave made by Meier at the buzzer.
“I told the girls that if we could cut it to six by the end of three, we’re in it,” said Forgione. “That was our goal, and we cut it to four.”
After five lead changes to start the fourth, the Warriors knotted the score at 58-58 on an and-one and free throw with 58.2 seconds to go in the contest. The Knights missed a pair of free throws, and the Warriors went up by one after making one of two free throws with 23.9 seconds.
Meier returned to hit another big shot and gave the Knights the lead back with a three on a kick-out from Janette Wadolowski.
“I knew that there were three seconds,” said Meier. “I just took one dribble, let it go, and I guess it was enough. We’ve hit those in practice sometimes and made a big deal about it, but I’ve never hit that in a game.”
Following a missed shot by the Warriors on their next possession, the Knights pulled away on a pair of free throws by Meehan with 2.2 seconds.
One last inbounds play by the Warriors went the length of the court, but got tipped around and eventually fell into the hands of Kristen Longley.
Wadolowski (13 rebounds) paced the offense with 23 points and went 6-for-10 from the foul line. Meehan (7 rebounds, 5 assists) backed Wadolowski with 19 points and went 6-for-7 from the charity stripe. Meier (4 assists) contributed with 15 points on a triad of threes. Hulten grabbed seven rebounds.
For this week’s box scores, click here: (http://southingtonobserver.com/2017/03/07/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-march-10-edition/). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.