Emotions were running high last Friday at Southington High School. It was senior night, the bleachers on both sides were full, and the Southington girls basketball team was trying to make a comeback against a Glastonbury team that started the season 12-2.
There were points in the fourth quarter where the comeback seemed out of reach, but no hill is too high to climb for head coach Howie Hewitt’s squad, and the game was tied with five seconds to go. Livvy Pizzitola stole the ball of an inbound pass and sank the drive-away layup to steal the game from the Tomahawks, 43-41.
That layup from Pizzitola was Southington’s first lead since being ahead, 4-3, with just under five minutes left in the first quarter. Glastonbury had an eight-point advantage at halftime.
It seemed the Tomahawks had a victory in sight when Sydney Kehl nailed a jumper with 2:17 left to take a 41-34 lead. That was when the Lady Knights made their move.
Freshman Gabby D’Angelo grabbed a big offensive rebound and found Pizzitola for a layup to shrink the lead to five. However, the two biggest plays before Pizzitola’s game-winner came from another freshman.
Jessica Carr came up with a steal after a trap at half-court then sank the layup on the other end while also being fouled. Pizzitola rebounded Carr’s missed free throw and she was then fouled. The senior point guard made one to bring the deficit to 39-41 with 1:40 left.
Later on, after a miss on the front end of a one-and-one by Glastonbury, Carr found the ball in her hands again with the Knights desperate for a good shot to tie it up. Carr drove to her right and sank a floater while falling to the floor for the game’s biggest shot to that point.
Southington ended the game on a 9-0 run. Hewitt and the team couldn’t hold back the excitement after Pizzitola’s dagger.
“We trailed the whole game but you only have to be ahead once,” Hewitt said after the win. “This is all on the girls. They played defense and got back in the game. They made big plays and big shots. That is a really good team in Glastonbury. They played their tails off. Our kids hung with them and played tough. It was a great win for our program. It showed a lot about our team.”
Pizzitola scored all nine of her points in the fourth quarter and also had five rebounds and five assists. Kelley Marshall was a rebound shy of a double-double as she had 10 points and nine rebounds. Brianna Harris led the team with 11 points while Carr had six points and eight rebounds.
The comeback victory came after a 50-34 win at Enfield earlier in the week. While the Lady Knights were up eight at halftime, they outscored the Eagles 11-0 in the third quarter to give a comfortable lead to start the fourth. Southington held Enfield to just 30% from the field.
Harris led in scoring for the second straight game, scoring all 12 of her points from beyond the three-point line, and also had a team-high four assists. Pizzitola had seven points and four rebounds while Carr had a team-high 10 rebounds. Marshall chipped in with eight points and a blocked shot.
Southington was hit with more crushing injury news this weekend as Marshall suffered a hip injury in the emotional win last Friday. The seriousness of the injury was not known at press time.
With the loss of Allison Carr for the season, Marshall’s absence leaves another big void. However, Hewitt said he expects others to step up as the season draws near a close.
“For our rotation, we will have to make a few adjustments,” Hewitt said. “We have played a lot of kids this year so they were never going to just be thrown into the fray of varsity-level basketball. We are not looking far ahead. We still have to finish strong in this last week.”
The Knights entered this week ranked fifth in Class LL and third in the Central Connecticut Conference standings. They took on Farmington (5-12) on Monday (Feb. 10) and travelled to Conard (13-5) on Thursday (Feb. 13). Their season finale will be on Monday at NW Catholic (14-4).
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Spencer Dreher, email him at Sports@SouthingtonObserver.com.