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East Catholic Beats GHS Again in Focused Performance - TheSportsDept.com

East Catholic Beats GHS Again in Focused Performance

By Danny Atkinson

GLASTONBURY – The East Catholic and Glastonbury girls’ basketball defenses have been outstanding all season. On Monday night, the squads engaged in a back-and-forth affair in which the defenses were frequently in control. When an offense needed to step up in the fourth quarter and make enough big plays to win, however, East Catholic’s players avoided mistakes and hit crucial shots against aggressive defenders.

After entering the fourth with a 35-34 lead, the Eagles fell behind 39-38 with 5:50 remaining. A 9-2 run gave them a 47-41 lead with 2:48 left, and their players made enough field goals and defensive plays to secure a 51-46 win.

East Catholic improved to 13-3 and defeated the rival Tomahawks for the second time. It is now on a 5-game win streak. Glastonbury falls to 13-4 and saw a 3-game win streak end.

Cami Pasqualoni drained a three-pointer roughly two minutes into the fourth to give the Eagles a 38-36 lead, but junior Jillian Margaglione immediately responded with a trey of her own to put the Tomahawks up one. Both possessions featured strong ball movement by the offenses. Lily Ferguson and Pasqualoni, East Catholic’s top two scorers of the game, took over on the next few possessions with 5:50 remaining. The offense quickly passed the ball and created open space around the rim for Ferguson, who scored a layup to put the Eagles back in front. They then stopped Glastonbury and earned a fast break, leading to a wide-open three for Pasqualoni. Ferguson scored her second layup with 3:50 remaining to put East Catholic up 45-39, again displaying her athleticism and speed.

Star Charlotte Bassett was fouled on the next possession and made both free throws to cut the deficit to four points. On the Tomahawks following two possessions however, they missed three-pointers. Throughout the final minutes of the game, the Eagles defenders constantly pressured the ball and limited its movement and challenged outside shots, with Glastonbury’s only consistent scoring coming at the free throw line.

Following these misses, big Tamisha Meyers got open near the rim and scored to give her team a 47-41 lead with 2:40 remaining, its largest of the second half. The Tomahawks ran a quality inbound play 27 seconds later, with a wide-open Bassett scoring easily in the paint. After forcing a Glastonbury turnover, ECHS junior Emily Jeamel hit one free throw. On the team’s following possession, the Tomahawks forced a miss at the rim, allowing them to put the defense on its heels and senior Chelsea Tracey to get to the line, where she hit both to make the score 48-45 with 1:05 remaining. The teams quickly exchanged turnovers on the next possession, with Bassett eventually intercepting the ball and immediately getting fouled with 51.2 seconds left. She made one, the final GHS point.

The Falcons continued to show patience and found Meyer open, with Glastonbury forced to foul. She made both free throws to help seal the game.

East Catholic head coach Jeremiah Brown and Ferguson discussed how the team played high-quality basketball in the final quarter.

“We stayed poised and executed the game plan. We closed out on shooters as best we possibly could, kept the pressure on their best players, and hit some clutch shots at the end,” Brown said. “Our team stayed in control and limited turnovers.”

“I think we did well to maintain good defense. On offense, we kept the ball and moved it nicely, and cut our turnovers down,” Ferguson said. “We eventually got the lead to where we wanted it to be.”

“In the fourth, we could have handled the ball screen better,” Glastonbury head coach Chris Vozzolo said. “They hit some ball screens and we had no one showing up. They were able to get around the corner and hit some shots, and (Ferguson) was able to capitalize on them. Not defending the ball screen well enough led to Ferguson getting layups and Pasqualoni getting some open looks.”

After a first quarter dominated by the Eagles and the second by the Tomahawks, the third was very tight. It featured a significant number of threes, with GHS making five. Scalise and Bassett each hit early ones, with Meyer scoring at the rim.  After Pasqualoni hit a free throw, Roman drained a wide open three to give the Tomahawks the lead, and followed it on the next possession with an athletic layup. Threes by Ferguson and Jeamel soon after put East Catholic back up, 29-28. It later took a 34-31 advantage after Pasqualoni made two free throws. The GHS offense continued its strong ball movement, and Tracey made a three with just under a minute left to tie the score. A final free throw by Meyer gave the Eagles their one-point lead entering the fourth.

Both offenses were much more consistent in the third. They each were aggressive, moved the ball well and found open shots. Glastonbury in particular showed much better shooting touch in briefly taking the lead. East Catholic demonstrated the ability to consistently get the ball inside, as well as occasionally hit jumpers.

Brown discussed the areas in which his offense played well in the second half.

“In the second half, I thought we attacked the basket well. We were able to pick up some fouls on them, and Lily Ferguson did a good job in breaking that three-point line and getting to the rim. Doing so helps open up opportunities for shooters.”

The first half was a tale of two quarters, with each defense playing outstanding at certain times. In the opening eight minutes, East Catholic took a 15-4 lead, establishing momentum that lasted for much of the game. Pasqualoni hit two threes, while Meyer scored twice. After starting slow, the Eagles scored 11 points in the final 3:27, with many of these shots open. Meanwhile, the defense constantly pressured ball handlers and forced multiple turnovers, and challenged a large majority of shots. Glastonbury was unable to hit any outside shots, denying the players the ability to spread the floor effectively.

“Our defense played similarly to the first game against them,” Brown said when asked about the Eagles overall defensive performance. “We closed out and put the pressure on them, frustrating the shooters. We also closed out the middle and didn’t allow them to get to the basket a lot.”

After the tough first quarter, Glastonbury was excellent in the second, cutting the halftime deficit to two points at 19-17 and setting up the roller-coaster second half. Scalise and Margagione scored 11 of its 13 points. The Tomahawks displayed much more patience and quality passing, and their improved shooting allowed for more ball movement. On defense, GHS constantly challenged shots and was better able to keep up with Eagles players, obtaining multiple blocks.

Vozzolo did not hide his disappointment with Glastonbury’s effort after the game.

“We’re still a step away from where we should be. We’re better than we showed out here. I give East Catholic a lot of credit. We dug ourselves a hole at 15-4, and had to play catchup ever since. Pasqualoni hit some daggers on us.”

With the win, East Catholic moved up to fourth in the CCC conference standings, while Glastonbury fell to sixth. The Eagles are now sixth in the Class M standings. Glastonbury currently sits ninth in LL.

 East Catholic faces a tough schedule in its final four games, with each opponent having at least eight wins. Ferguson discussed the significance of Monday’s win and how it creates momentum heading into the home stretch of the regular season.

“It was extremely important for us to get this win and have momentum going into the next four games. We want to keep our winning streak alive,” Ferguson said.

Vozzolo is looking for GHS to capture momentum and improve as a team over its final three games. It will battle an outstanding Simsbury team in the regular season finale.

“We will have to bounce back tomorrow night against Enfield, and then work on the practice court and continue to get better. We think we can compete with anyone in the league, but our inconsistencies show up in places.”


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