MONROE >> When the final buzzer sounded in Lauralton Hall’s tough, grind-it-out victory over Kolbe Cathedral to win its third consecutive South West Conference title 45-36, the Crusaders just walked to the bench.
“I said to them, I go ‘you guys won, you won,” said Lauralton Hall coach Amanda Forcucci. “I think it was just a hard-fought game. They were just exhausted after the game.”
The top-seeded Crusaders pulled away in the second half after a physical game and Carly Fabbri said Lauralton Hall earned every point. She said this was especially important since this is Lauralton’s last season in the SWC, moving to the Southern Connecticut Conference next season.
“It’s a legacy that we’ve left here,” she said. “We always want to be No. 1.”
For Kolbe, a strong season will continue into the Class M tournament. Coach Lisa Hodges said she was proud of her team’s effort.
“We worked hard defensively,” she said. “We got the shots we wanted to get.”
Fabbri had a game-high 21 points and took home Most Valuable Player honors. Emily Menendez added eight and Emma McCarthy and Maureen Connolly had six points.
Meanwhile Denisha Gardener led the Cougars with 11 points and Kiara Epps had eight.
After a tight first quarter, Lauralton Hall forged ahead in the second quarter, thanks to strong rebounding and interior defense, according to Forcucci.
In the second half, Kolbe came as close as two, trailing 26-24 midway through the third. However, Fabbri scored five points in the Crusaders’ 8-0 run to close the quarter and put Lauralton Hall up 10.
“We made it imperative to keep attacking and get to the rim,” Fabbri said. “We always want to make a statement coming out after halftime.”
The Crusaders held onto the lead in the fourth by attacking the basket and getting to the free throw line five times in the fourth and outshooting the Cougars 30-9 in the game.
“They went to the line a few more times than I did,” Hodges said. “That was the separation. It was not from the floor.”
However, the Crusaders will take it, even if they have no energy to celebrate.
“In the end that’s what you want,” Forcucci said. “You want to leave it all out there.”
LAURALTON HALL 45, KOLBE CATHEDRAL 36
(at Lauralton Hall)
Kolbe Cathedral 11 7 6 12 – 36
Lauralton Hall 15 10 9 11 -45
KOLBE CATHEDRAL (36)
Kiara Epps 4 0-0 8, Leah Hodges 1 0-0 2, Denisha Gardener 4 3-7 11, Keyonni Adams 1 0-2 2, Kayla Weaver 3 0-0 6, Nakayla Nelson 3 0-0 7. Totals: 16 3-9 36
LAURALTON HALL (45)
emma mccarthy 1 3-4 6, Maggie Salandra 2 0-0 4, Carly Fabbri 5 9-14 21, Maureen Connolly 2 2-4 6, emily menendez 2 4-8 8. Totals: 12 18-30 45
3-point goals: Kolbe Cathedral 1 (Nelson 1); Lauralton Hall 3 (mccarthy 1, Fabbri 2); Records: Kolbe Cathedral 18-5; Lauralton Hall 22-1
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