By BRIAN JENNINGS
A poor shooting night is hard to overcome, but it took one of the top teams in the state to knock the Lady Knights out of the CCC Tournament. That’s a good measure as they prepare for the upcoming Class LL tournament.
Southington coach Mike Forgione said that his girls never gave up and lasting into the conference quarterfinals is a good tune-up for what’s to come.
Now, the No. 13 Knights expect that they will most likely host No. 20 Glastonbury in the first round of the Class LL tournament …a first-round matchup that Forgione wasn’t looking forward to.
“Our reward for going 15-5 is drawing Glastonbury in the first round…a team that already beat us by double digits at home?” said Forgione. “But they lost some games that, personally, they shouldn’t have lost. They’re just a very balanced, athletic team that really isn’t a 20th seed.”
Favorable draw or not, Forgione said that his girls are excited to get Glastonbury again because they didn’t play their best game that night. Also, if the Knights beat the Tomahawks, they will most likely have a shot at redemption against another team they lost to during the regular season: Simsbury.
Forgione said that it will take a team effort.
“It takes five players to win a game against a team like Glastonbury, defensively especially,” he said. “We have to keep them away from the rim, box out, and get the 50-50 loose balls. We have to talk and play with that passion, desire, and energy. If we do those things defensively, offensively we’ll be okay.”
Pairings are to be announced by the CIAC by noon on Wednesday, Feb. 21. Southington enters the postseason with a 15-5 record.
FEB. 15—The eighth-seeded Knights began their conference tournament run on Thursday with a 68-51 home victory over No. 9 EO Smith. The Knights led by eight at the half and pulled away with the help of 20 points in the fourth quarter.
Janette Wadolowski (3 assists, 3 steals) paced the offense with 32 points on a pair of three-pointers and grabbed a team high of 14 rebounds, going 6-for-7 from the foul line. Allison Carr (7 rebounds, 3 assists) contributed with a season high of 19 points on a pair of treys, going 7-for-11 from the charity stripe.
“Sometimes, she’s so explosive that she’ll get underneath the basket,” said Forgione. “So we’ve been working on doing that jump-stop power layup. Slow it down a little bit once you get to the rim and focus on finishing, and she did a great job tonight with that.”
Taylor Verboven led the Panthers with 25 points.
“We talked about getting off to a quick start,” said Forgione. “That’s important in these types of games. We knew they were going to be really scrappy and aggressive. They pretty much have five guards out there that like to attack on offensive and defensive ends. We knew that we had a little size advantage with (Madison) Hulten and (Kelley) Marshall.”
Hulten responded with six points in the first quarter.
“We’ve been working on her inside presence and focusing on going high off the glass to finish,” said Forgione. “She get’s herself into position, but sometimes, she just wasn’t finishing. We were really working on that, and she did a great job early. Those six points in that first quarter really spring-boarded us to get off to a good start.”
FEB. 17—On Saturday, Southington’s conference tournament came to an end with a 69-51 loss to top-seeded RHAM in the quarterfinals. The Knights fell to the Sachems, 55-40, in the first game of the regular season.
The Sachems led by eight at the half and limited the Knights to just six points in the third quarter, averaging over 17 points a quarter. Jackie Santella (14 points) and Gretchen Kron (14 points) were two of four Sachems with double-digit points.
Wadolowski paced the Knight offense with 21 points and went 7-for-9 from the foul line. Brianna Harris contributed with 11 points on a triad of three-pointers. Carr got into early foul trouble, and Wadolowski fouled out.
“When you play six seniors and a junior of two six-footers in the paint, a really good point guard, and wings that can shoot, you have to play well,” said Forgione. “Not only did we not shoot the ball as well as we would’ve liked, but defensively, we broke down in certain spots. We let them get second, third, and fourth-chance opportunities.”
Regular season wrap-up
FEB. 12—The Knights closed out the regular season on Monday by cruising to a 71-36 victory over NW Catholic at home, as 11 of their 12 players contributed to Southington’s scoring.
The Knights held a 25-point lead at the half with the help of 23 points in the first quarter. Wadolowski (4 assists, 3 steals) paced the offense with 25 points and grabbed a team high of 15 rebounds. Carr (3 rebounds) backed Wadolowski with 12 points.