DANBURY — The Danbury girls basketball team is quickly developing its own version of a devastating post tandem capable of taking over any game.
Sophomore Tianna Rogers and junior Tanisha Cunningham tormented opponents for the second straight game in the News-Times Tip-Off Classic, this time in the final against Bristol Eastern. The pair combined for 24 points as the Hatters rolled past the Lancers 65-37 for their fourth straight win and the holiday title.
Rogers took home tournament MVP honors by pouring in 28 points between the semifinal and final.
“She took a lot of lumps last year and I worked her hard,” said Hatters coach Jackie DiNardo. “We had a lot of days we went home crying, and it wasn’t just her, it was me too. I knew she had potential last year as a freshman; she played AAU and worked on her game. … I think she realizes it’s important to her.”
The Hatters built a 13-0 lead before the Lancers finally got on the board with less than two minutes left in the first. A similar run broke the game open in the third as Danbury led by 21 points heading into the final quarter.
“I think we worked well as a team,” said Hatters senior Ty’Lynn Ith, who scored 14 points. “We motivated each other, and I think that energy just carried us all the way through. We knew we needed to start strong, Bristol Eastern is a strong team.”
New Milford’s Mackenzie Brady, New Fairfield’s Allison Teklis, Bristol Eastern’s Avery Arbuckle and Jordan Ouellette and Cunningham made up the all-tournament team.
CLASS IN SESSION
It’s rare that DiNardo — who has coached the Hatters for more than 30 years — is the less-experienced coach on the sidelines of any game. But that was the case against the Lancers as Tony Floyd is entering his 38th with the school. The win for DiNardo was the 492nd in her Hall of Fame career.
The pair have combined for more than 1,000 wins.
“I’ve known Tony for a long time and have a lot of respect,” DiNardo said. “We play against him in AAU and we go back. We have a lot of respect.”
“(Rogers and Cunningham) a huge asset to us and I feel like we wouldn’t be what we are without them,” said Ith. “They carry us some games and we’re lucky to have them; not too many teams have post players like them who can move in the paint.”
DANBURY 65, BRISTOL EASTERN 37
BRISTOL EASTERN (2-4): Julia Gettings 2 0-0 4 Sage Scarritt 2 0-0 4 Jordan Ouellette 7 0-0 14 Avery Arbuckle 2 0-0 6 Cali Doyon 3 0-0 7 Grace D’Amato 1 0-0 2. Totals: 17 0-0 37.
DANBURY (4-3): Tianna Rogers 5 0-0 10 Sabrina Almeida 2 0-0 5 Christine Sangphet 1 0-0 2 Chloe Perreault 2 0-0 4 Susana Almeida 4 0-2 9 Tanisha Cunningham 7 0-2 14 Ty’Lynn Ith 7 0-2 14 Azariya Baptiste 1 0-0 3 Kianna Perry 2 0-0 4. Totals: 31 0-6 65.
BRISTOL EASTERN 6 11 8 12 — 37
DANBURY 17 10 19 19 — 65
3-pointers: BE—Doyon; D—Susana Almeida, Baptiste.