THOMASTON >> Tied at 36 with under two minutes to go in the third quarter and on its heels, Thomaston took a timeout to set up a play for junior Morgan Sanson. The play worked perfectly, but instead of sinking the open layup, Sanson turned and fired a pass to a wide open Abby Hurlbert who buried a 3–pointer to kick start the Golden Bears’ offense.
After a missed shot on the their next trip down the court, Sanson jumped an Immaculate pass, finished an acrobatic layup and hit the free-throw that followed to give the Golden Bears a lead that they would hold on to in a 55-49 Class S girls basketball quarterfinal win over Immaculate.
“We needed a basket to stop the bleeding. I didn’t care who got it, what kind of shot it was, Abby hit the 3-pointer, not surprising,” Thomaston head coach Bob McMahon said. “Then Morgan’s steal drive and finish, she anticipated the pass then knifed her way around two defenders and finished it. That was a sensational play, the place erupted.”
“We only needed a couple of more stops and we were good,” he said.
The Golden Bears took the five-point lead into the final quarter and added six more points. A Sanson layup, a Casey Carangelo put back and a Hurlbert jumper capped off an 11-0 run to put Thomaston in the driver’s seat.
“It’s tournament time, got to give it everything,” said Sanson who scored 20 points in the win. “No one wants to go home; we don’t want that to happen.”
Thomaston capitalized on a number of Mustangs misses.
“We struggled to score early and it cost us,” Immaculate head coach Lisa Henley said.
Hurlbert led the way for the Golden Bears early, scoring eight of their 15 points in the first quarter.
Henley knew going in they would have to take Hurlbert out of the offense.
“We started with a 3-2 zone, and she started burning us,” Henley said.
The Mustangs switched up their defense in the second quarter, switching to a 2-3 zone and held Hurlbert to one 3-pointer.
That’s when Sanson and sophomore Gabby Hurlbert carried the load for the Golden Bears.
The duo combined to score the rest of the 11 points for Thomaston in the quarter.
“She (Sanson) played awesome tonight. She rebounded, she scored when we needed her to,” said Hurlbert who scored a game-high 21 points. “Gab and all the sophomores and freshman, from the beginning of the year to now, they are so much better.”
The Golden Bears took a 29-21 lead into the locker room.
Coming out of the break, the Mustangs put everything together turning an eight-point deficit into a tie game at 36 when Victoria Matero scored on a layup. That only set up the Golden Bears run to close out the game.
“We had some mental lapses, we gave them too many looks. We fought hard it was a good game,” Henley said. “Having home court advantage is huge. Their fans were huge. We kept chipping away, but we couldn’t capitalize.”
Thomaston advances to the Class S semifinals for the second year in a row and will take on No. 2 Sacred Heart on Monday night at a time and place not yet determined.
“We’ve worked hard for this, we wanted to go back,” Sanson said.
Thomaston 55 Immaculate 49
Thomaston 15 14 13 13 – 55
Immaculate 6 15 15 13 – 49
Thomaston (55): Abby Hurlbert 7-4-21; Gabby Hurlbert 3-3-10; Morgan Sanson 7-6-20; Charlie Eberhardt 0-0-0; Bryttnie Thomas 0-0-0; Nicole Schaefer 1-0-2; Sarah Guay 0-0-0; Casey Carangelo 1-0-2. Totals: 19-13-55.
Immaculate (49): Amanda Loya 3-2-8; Jaclyn Daily 3-0-7; Taylor Guth 5-2-13; Danielle Cerrone 4-5-13; Victoria Matero 1-3-5; Katherine Kerins 1-1-3. Totals: 17-13-49.
3 – point goals: T – A. Hurlbert 3; G. Hurlbert. I – Dailey; Guth.
Records: Thomaston 18-4. Immaculate 15-8.