WINSTED >> No. 1 Thomaston opened a first-half lead from the outside, then built on it inside for a 56-36 win over No. 2 Nonnewaug in the Berkshire League Girls Basketball Tournament final at Northwestern High School Friday night.
It was the reigning Class S champion’s fourth BL tournament crown in a row, avenging the Golden Bears’ only league loss this year in the regular season.
“We knew they were great players,” said Thomaston sophomore center Casey Carangelo (16 points). “We shot great and played great defense.”
Friday’s winning margin was the same as the Bears’ first game against the Chiefs. In the second game – a one-point Nonnewaug win – Chief forwards Courtney Carlson and Jess Fengler played huge inside.
Friday, Thomaston’s man-to-man defense kept Nonnewaug on the perimeter and helped the Bears control the boards.
“(Nonnewaug forward) Jess Fengler has been one of the best players in the league for the past four years and she proved it again tonight,” said Thomaston coach Bob McMahon.
Fengler made a few highlight drives, but a Thomaston defensive posse, led by Gabby Hurlbert, kept her under control, with nine points.
Carlson led the Chiefs with 11 Friday, but joined them in ice cold shooting from outside.
After a pound-it-out first quarter with Nonnewaug ahead 15-14, outside shooting in the second quarter was the difference for Thomaston.
Two minutes into the period, the score locked 18-18, junior Nicole Schaefer (14 points) nailed her first three.
Golden Bear Morgan Sanson (game-high 17 points) went to the line for a foul shot.
Schaefer hit another three.
Nonnewaug’s Sarah Schivera sank two foul shots.
Schaefer hit another three.
The score was 28-20, Thomaston. The Chiefs never recovered.
Sanson and Fengler traded layups, ending the half 30-22, Thomaston.
Carangelo started the second half penetrating the Chiefs’ 2-3 zone on a great pass from Sanson.
Schaeffer hit one more three, 35-22.
“Nikki’s always got the green light,” Coach McMahon smiled. “We call her the great outdoorsman – catch and release.”
“My teammates have to do a good job passing when I’m open,” said Schaefer.
Schaefer’s work on the perimeter was the key to opening the lead. Sanson and Carangelo were keys inside to building it.
With four minutes left in the third, they went to work: put-back by Carangelo, coast-to-coast sprint on a three-point play by Sanson; Carangelo feed to Samantha Bostek; easy layup by Carangelo against Nonnewaug’s press.
The score after three was 46-28, Thomaston.
The only question was how big the margin would become.
Thomaston’s inside game – put-backs by Sanson and Carangelo, layups by Sanson and Charlotte Eberhardt – kept it at 20.
“(Carangelo) was on her game tonight,” said McMahon. “I’m proud of her.”
State Tournaments come next. Nonnewaug (18-5), stuck in Class LL because of its Vo-Ag numbers, hosts Fairfield-Ludlowe (11-9) Tuesday.
The Golden Bears (19-3), No. 3 in Class S, get a first-round bye, then host the winner of Monday’s game between Two Rivers and O’Brien Tech.
No. 1 Thomaston 56, No. 2 Nonnewaug 36
At Northwestern High School
Nonnewaug 15 7 6 8 – 36
Thomaston 14 16 16 10 – 56
Nonnewaug (36): Mary Bibbey 1-0-2; Jennie Wingard 0-0-0; Sarah Schivera 1-3-5; Hannah MacLean 0-0-0; Courtney Carlson 3-5-11; Deanna Maurice 1-0-3; Jess Fengler 4-1-9; Olivia Morgan 2-0-6; Totals: 12-9-36.
Thomaston (56): Julia Quinn 1-0-3; Nicole Schaefer 4-2-14; Danielle Genest 0-0-0; Gabby Hurlbert 1-0-2; Morgan Sanson 6-4-17; Charlotte Eberhardt 1-0-2; Camryn Capaldo 0-0-0; Alexa Milius 0-0-0; Samantha Brostek 1-0-2; Casey Carangelo 7-2-16; Totals: 218-56.
3-point goals: N – Maurice; Morgan 2. T – Quinn; Schaefer 4; Sanson.
Records: Nonnewaug 18-5; Thomaston 19-3.
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