Enfield Tops Ellington in Thriller

ELLINGTON- The Knights came into Friday night’s matchup with the visiting Raiders looking for an opening night win, but Enfield showed that they are a team with something to prove in this year’s NCCC.  The Raiders (1-1) would pull out a 50-49 victory over Ellington (0-1) in a nail biter.

Ellington entered the game as a favorite to win the NCCC.  The Knights were 18-7 last season, won the NCCC Tournament, and return their All-State senior guard Karlee Alves.

Enfield came into the game fresh off an opening night 52-33 loss to Bacon Academy.  The Raiders, under the direction of first year head coach Jay Gaucher, are looking to rebuild from a 6-14 record from last season.

Gaucher, who earned his first victory as Enfield’s head coach on Friday, was happy to see his team live up to their reputation.  “I knew they were tough, aggressive girls because they talked about it.  Tonight they backed it up.”

The Knights were in foul trouble from the beginning Friday night.  Ellington committed 10 fouls and was tied 11-11 with Enfield at the end of the first quarter.  Foul trouble would be a difference maker in the game.

The Raiders hung around with Ellington in the first half, going into the locker room only down three by a score of 23-20.  However, the Knights came out in the second half with a 10-0 run.  By the End of the third quarter, Ellington would lead Enfield 40-30.

Enfield was not phased by the late deficit.

“Down ten in the fourth quarter we didn’t quit playing,” Gaucher said.  “I told them to play it one possession at a time and they chipped away.”

Enfield’s fourth quarter comeback came from the foul line.  The Raiders went to the charity stripe 31 times and shot 61% in the game, compared to Ellington’s 31% in their 19 opportunities.

“Our girls decided to start attacking more,” Gaucher said.  “We made some big foul shots when we needed to.”

With just under five minutes left to play, Enfield Freshman Regina LeBlanc went to the line with her team down two for a chance to tie the game up.  She would miss both shots, but got her own rebound and scored in the paint to tie the game at 43-43.  Leblanc would finish with 8 points.

With the score tied, Ellington’s Karlee Alves put Enfield junior Olivia Caronna on the line.  Carronna, who had nine points for the game, made one of two shots to give the Raiders their first lead with 3:49 remaining in the fourth.

Enfield would lead by as many as five late in the fourth, but Ellington fought back.

After a made free throw by Alves, Ellington senior Devonney Waters hit a big three to cut Enfield’s lead to one with a score of 48-47.  Alves then got free on a fast-break and hit a layup to return the lead to the Knights, 49-48.

“Even when Ellington came back and took the lead these girls kept working,” Gaucher said of his team.

With 15 seconds remaining, Enfield got a fast break off of an Alves miss.  Enfield senior Maggie Richards, who lead all scorers with 17 points, delivered a layup for the Raiders to give Enfield a 50-49 lead.

The Knights had one last opportunity with 6.3 seconds remaining inbounding the ball under their own basket, but Alves, who finished with 16 points, couldn’t connect at the buzzer.  Enfield held on to win 50-49.

Despite the loss, Ellington head coach Lauren Beeler remains optimistic about her team this year.  “We have a lot of potential,” she said.  “I think this is going to motivate us more.”

“A lot of credit goes to them,” Beeler added of Enfield.

“I’m proud of our girls,” Gaucher said.  “They played tough all night.”

Ellington plays at Bolton while Enfield has their home opener against Coventry Tuesday night.

For more photos from the game click HERE.

 

 

 

 

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