Weaver Tops Farmington

PLAINVILLE – There will be a new state Class L girls basketball champion.

Weaver High became the first Hartford-based girls basketball team to make three trips to the state finals in four years with a 50-38 victory over defending champion Farmington High in the Class L semifinals on March 18 in Plainville.

The third-seeded Beavers will face No. 1 Capital Prep in the title game at Mohegan Sun Arena this weekend.

“With everything that’s been going on in the Hartford community with the Hurleys [Doc and Muriel], these girls and the boys stuck together and played through a lot of adversity,” Weaver head coach Wendell Williams. “I just really feel blessed right now.”

Farmington head coach Russ Crist said that Weaver simply outplayed the Indians.

“They were the better team tonight by a landslide and they deserve all the credit,” Crist said.

Dejane James, Shaquana Edwards and Alyssa Stewart led Weaver (24-2) with 13 points each, while Amanda Stewart scored seven points and Rayven Smith had four.

Sophie Borg scored 13 for the second-seeded Indians, who struggled all game with the Beavers’ collective quickness and height. Bridget Kelly scored 11 points, while Cheray Saunders had seven, Mary Schoenherr had four, Munah Momah scored two and Brittany Galske had one.

“The fear of the blocked shot in the first half really got to us,” Crist said. They have such a great presence underneath, I think we were too worried about getting our shots blocked and didn’t finish at all in the first half.”

Indeed, the Indians only had one field goal in the first quarter and three field goals in the first half. Weaver led 11-6 after the first quarter and 25-13 at the half. The deficits proved to be too great for Farmington, as Weaver’s backcourt tandem of James and Edwards broke down the Indians’ defense all evening.

“You can’t play from behind on them,” Crist said. “We dug a hole right away and you’ve got to trap and put a little pressure on, but they are just too good with their quickness and their ball-handling ability and playmaking ability. We knew we would be in trouble if we had to come from behind.”

The Indians managed to close to within seven points in the third quarter, when Mary Schoenherr sank two free throws to make it 29-22 with 1:13 left in the frame. But Weaver struck back with five straight points in the final 43 seconds of the quarter to effectively put the game out of reach.

Farmington closed out the season with a 21-4 record, having made a trip the Class L semifinals after winning the title last year. The team also won the CCC West for the second straight year.

“I told [the players] not to hang their heads,” Crist said. “They never quit. They played to the end. … I was proud of the way they handled themselves all season.”

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