Magical Run Ends for Enfield

The luck o’ the Irish came a few hours early for St. Joseph’s Shannon O’Meara, at the expense of the Enfield High School girls basketball team.

The senior drained nine three-point baskets, including eight in the first half, to power the 11th-seeded Cadets to a 61-39 victory in the Class M semifinals at Plainville High School Monday night.

Bridget Sharnick canned five treys, as the Cadets pumped in 15 shots from beyond the arc.

“They did a great job shooting and we didn’t get enough hands up,” Enfield head coach Jay Gaucher said. “We knew they were a good shooting team, but that was a lot of threes.”

Enfield, the No. 10 seed, jumped to a quick 6-0 lead, but a pair of threes by O’Meara got the St. Joseph offense kickstarted. A 13-0 run over a 4:31 stretch gave the Cadets a double-digit lead they would not relinquish.

The Raiders, playing without injured point guard Regina LeBlanc, never got closer than 10 from early in the second quarter on, as they struggled to break St. Joseph’s full-court press. The Cadets took a 30-15 lead into intermission without a single field goal from within the arc, recording nine three-pointers and a trio of free throws.

“We struggled breaking the press,” Gaucher said. “Normally when people press us in a 1-2-2 or a 1-2-1-1, we do a really good job breaking it, but we struggled tonight for some odd reason. It always hurts not having one of your leaders, but I thought our other girls stepped up and played hard in her place.”

In the second half, St. Joseph gradually stretched the margin to as much as 30 before Enfield tallied the final eight points of the contest.

O’Meara’s 29 points and Sharnick’s 19 pushed the Cadets into the Class M championship game this weekend at the Mohegan Sun Arena against No. 4 Cromwell.

Enfield was led by freshman Mary Baskerville’s 14 points.

The youthful Raiders, who start two freshmen and a sophomore, finished with one of the finest seasons in school history: 15 regular season wins, two more in the NCCC tournament and three in the Class M bracket.

Senior Hannah Lempitsky, whose first game as a freshman resulted in Enfield’s first win after 66 straight losses, said she is proud of the remarkable turnaround the program has accomplished.

“I think it’s incredible, going from freshman year when we won three games, to make it to the semifinals is a great feeling,” she said. “We really made a name for Enfield; before we were the laughingstock of the conference. Now we’re a team to be reckoned with. People aren’t like, ‘Oh Enfield? Easy win.’ Now teams are intimidated to play us, and I think it’s great for us, and in upcoming years it’s just going to get better.”

“I was very proud of their effort, all 17 girls in the program,” Gaucher said. “You can tell the loss bothered them and hurt them, but it was a phenomenal season for our seniors to go out and our underclassmen to build on.”




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