UNCASVILLE — Cromwell held off a furious comeback from Sheehan Sunday at the Mohegan Sun to win its third Class M state title since 2013.
After trailing by as many as 16 in the third quarter, Sheehan battled back to take a 46-44 lead on a conventional three-point play from Caitlyn Velez that brought an eruption from the Titan faithful, with 2:32 left.
The late points from the line let No. 2 Cromwell hold on for a 60-51 win over No. 13 Sheehan and claim its third state title since 2013.
“We spend so much time shooting free throws, so much. We shoot for 10 minutes, run sprints, then shoot some more just so we are tired shooting foul shots,” Budzik said. “That really got me ready for the free throws at the end. Especially as the point guard, you have to be ready because you are going to have the ball in your hands.”
Cromwell went 23 of 30 from the line in the game.
“This was our goal from the beginning of the year and now that it’s here, it is such an amazing feeling,” Budzik said. “The Cromwell boys team was able to win last year and my brother was on that team. I am kind of carrying on his legacy. This is a really great feeling.”
Cromwell led by as many as 16 in the third quarter and by nine entering the fourth when Sheehan rallied.
The Titans came all the way back, taking their first lead of the game 46-44 with 2:32 left on two free throws by Caitlyn Velez.
Sheehan would only hold the lead briefly as the Panthers answered, tying the game on a jumper and free throw by Najla Cecunjanin.
Cecunjanin then nailed a 3, pushing the lead to four.
“We were behind and ended up taking a two-point lead with a couple minutes left but (Cecunjanin) banged a big 3 which may have sealed our fate a little,” Sheehan coach Michael Busillo said. “My girls fought all year. I told them at halftime, there was plenty of time left and, once again, they proved me right. This is a special group but we came up a few plays short tonight.”
For Sheehan, Olivia Robles scored 17 with Madison Larkin adding 13.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Sadie Budzik, Cromwell. Budzik scored a game-high points but none as big as her free throws down the stretch. She was 5-of-6 from the line.
“We told them to take their time and down the stretch we were able to make stops and make some free throws when we had to,” Cromwell coach Kelly Maher said. “We tried to make it difficult where (Robles) caught the ball and make try to pitch in on the guards so she couldn’t turn.”