Tolland Wins Third-Straight Holiday Tournament

AVON- The Tolland Eagles won their third straight Avon Holiday Tournament Monday night with a narrow 34-33 win over Glastonbury.  Tolland was led by their lone senior, Chelsea Domian, and was able to hold off a Glastonbury team that trailed the Eagles by nine at halftime.

“I think exposing kids to this atmosphere in late December will pay dividends in early February,” Tolland head coach Vinnie Cianfarani said of playing in Avon’s holiday tournament.  “It gets the kids used to playing in a tournament atmosphere.”

The Eagles (3-2) certainly proved Monday that they can stay composed in a tournament environment, a question mark Cianfarani had coming into the season with a team featuring only one senior.  Tolland advanced to the championship game with an overtime victory over Northwest Catholic on Saturday, and hung on in a back-and-forth game with the Tomahawks Monday night.

Tolland also proved that they have a bona fide closer in Tournament MVP Chelsea Domian.  Tolland’s lone senior hit the game winning shot capping off a game high 19-points.

With the loss, the Tomahawks fall to 2-3 this season.  Glastonbury defeated Avon 43-36 to advance to the championship game with Tolland.

“We’re still trying to figure out how to play,” Glastonbury’s first year head coach Kate Susat had to say of her team’s start to the season.  “It took us a couple of baskets to give us a confidence boost and get us going in the second half.”

At halftime, Tolland led 21-12, but the Tomahawks came out of the locker room looking like a different team, going on a 9-0 run to start the half and tie the game at 21 halfway through the third quarter.

“They came out with a completely different attitude in the second half,” Susat said.  “I told them to believe in themselves.”

Glastonbury was able to get their first lead of the night with 3:55 remaining in the third quarter when freshman Madison Seymour scored a fast-break layup off of a Domian turnover and move the score to 23-22 in favor of the Tomahawks.  Seymour would lead Glastonbury in scoring, finishing with ten points.

In the final four minutes of the third quarter there would be four lead changes until Domian knocked down a shot from the top of the key at the buzzer to tie the game 28-28.

“Give her kids a lot of credit, they played very hard,” Cianfarani said of Susat’s Tomahawks.

The final quarter of play was slow offensively.  With only 21.46 seconds to play, Glastonbury had scored five points and Tolland had scored only four points in the quarter.  Glastonbury called a timeout leading 33-32.

“I told them during that timeout that defense was going to win this game for us,” Cianfarani said.  He would prove to be clairvoyant.

Tolland put a full-court press on Glastonbury, who was inbounding under the Eagles’ basket.  The pressure resulted in a trap near half court, and Tolland junior Courtney Akerley stealing the ball from Seymour.

In the confusion that ensued, Domian made sure her team would get a good look before time expired.

“I told everyone to slow down,” Domian said, “We have time.”

Domian got the ball near the elbow and came off a screen to hit a baseline eight-foot jumper to give the Eagles a 34-33 lead with 4.8 seconds left on the clock.  Glastonbury would be unable answer back.

“That’s my move,” Domian said of the mid-range shot.  “I’ve had the opportunity to take the game-winning shot before, and this one fell through.  It felt really good.”

“Chelsea did what Chelsea does best,” Cianfarani said of Domian.

Glastonbury hosts E.O. Smith Friday night while Tolland visits South Windsor.

To see more pictures from the Avon Holiday Tournament click HERE.


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