Senior guard Sarah Ericson scored 20 points, had seven rebounds and two steals to lead Norwich Free Academy to a 57-33 victory over Waterford in the ECC Southern Division championship game Thursday at NFA. It was NFA’s second-consecutive ECC title after winning last year’s Division I championship.
NFA, the No. 1-ranked team in the GameTimeCT Top 10 Girls Basketball poll, never trailed and was only briefly tied with Waterford at 2-2 before blasting off on a 19-0 run to effectively put Waterford away.
Senior Anajah Ingram, who scored 19 points, got things started with a layup and then a 3-pointer. Guard Jenissa Varela (12 points) added another 3 a few minutes later. NFA’s zone defense caused nightmares for Waterford on the other end.
Waterford didn’t score again until Milly Walker (game-high 21 points) hit a jumper 1:10 into the second quarter. Though the Lancers picked up their offensive pace somewhat, they were still no match for NFA, which built a 25-point lead by halftime and cruised — almost too much for their coach’s liking — to the title in the second half.
“I thought they came ready to play today,” NFA coach Courtney Gomez told the GameDayCT broadcast. “Basketball is a game of runs. You miss open shots, you make open shots but the key is to keep playing through it and commit to our defensive scout. I’ve got a really veteran cast out there. They wanted to give me a little bit of a scare in the third quarter, with a couple of turnovers here and there, but I feel like we started that game and ended that game the way we should have and I’m real proud of them.”
The Wildcats are in line to be voted the No. 1 team in the state next week. NFA usurped Notre Dame-Fairfield at midseason when ND lost to Masuk without playing its starting lineup.
“It means a lot to the program,” Gomez said when asked what it would mean to be voted No. 1. “It’s obviously a different year. We’ve done well in the ECC, we’re ECC champs and that means a lot. I’d love to play in a state tournament, but that’s not going to happen. … I think these girls played this year to earn that No. 1 rating and, even though it might be a little bit different if you played different competition, I don’t want it to take away from what they accomplished this year.”