WEST HAVEN — It is not always how you start, but how you finish. Just ask Kandie Everette of Wilbur Cross.
Hitting on just one field goal entering the fourth quarter, Everette broke a 43-43 tie with a pair of buckets, leading the Governors to a 58-47 Southern Connecticut Conference interdivision victory at Neil Cavallaro Court at West Haven High on Friday.
For Everette, who was in foul trouble and saw limited action in the third quarter, the redemption was one of beauty as her first two baskets of the second half helped Cross overcome an 11-point deficit and gave the team a 47-43 lead.
“It feels good,” Everette said after finishing with eight points. “I am glad I was able to pull it together and help my teammates.”
The baskets were the daggers in the hearts of the Westies, who completely lost their offensive touch in the fourth quarter, hitting on just one field goal by Tenique Gates with 3 minutes, 54 seconds to go to get the Westies within 47-45.
West Haven missed a ton of open looks and was just 2-for-7 from the free throw line in the final eight minutes.
“We completely fell apart in the second half,” West Haven coach Jessica Moriarty said after her team fell to 5-4. “We were not shooting. It looked as if we were trying to just throw the ball to get fouled. I am extremely disappointed. Ty (Thomas) does a great job. He is a great coach. Our problem is our youth. It completely showed in the second half.”
The Westies looked as if they were in great position twice in the third quarter when they took 11-point leads on a bucket by Amani Abuhatab and again on a 3-pointer by Gates for a 40-29 lead.
The Governors answered with a 14-3 run to close out the third quarter, including nine points from Dejah Middleton. When Madison McCaulay hit a 3-pointer late in the third, the two teams went to the fourth quarter even at 43.
West Haven twice had opportunities to open the scoring in the fourth, but could not convert, setting the tone for Everette. The senior then gave her team a 52-45 advantage with 1:52 remaining, before the Governors iced the contest with four free throws, and a clinching bucket by Jaylice Rosario.
“We had to stick together,” Everette said. “We kept our heads up and kept the energy going. We knew if we kept the energy up, we could win.”
Trailing 13-12 in the second quarter, West Haven took a 27-21 lead at the half when Kassidy Carrano opened the quarter with a 3-pointer, then added another bucket for a 24-19 lead. A basket by Mya Flemming and a free throw by Carrano extended the margin to six points at the break.
“We had the lead, then our youth showed,” Moriarty said. “We beat ourselves tonight. Give them credit. They came back, but we have to make some of those shots.”
April Artis led all scorers with 17 points for Wilbur Cross, while Middleton had 15. Carrano led West Haven with 15 points, while Abuhatab added 12 and Gates finished with nine.
Players of the Game
April Artis and Kandie Everette: Cross seniors led the way in a comeback victory as Artis scored 17 points and Everette finished with eight, including six in the decisive fourth quarter.
Both teams struggled from the foul line as Cross finished 10-of-18, and West Haven finished 10-of-19.
“We had to stick together. We kept our heads up and kept the energy going. We knew if we kept the energy up, we could win.”
— Kandie Everette of Wilbur Cross