NEW HAVEN >> Ever since losing at the buzzer in last season’s Class LL final to Mercy, Lauralton Hall has been on a mission according to Quinnipiac-bound senior guard Carly Fabbri.
“We’re looking forward,” she said. “We want to keep winning and get to where we want to be, and that’s No. 1 in the state.”
The sixth-ranked Crusaders continued their run to the top with a convincing 46-26 rout of third-ranked Career in New Haven on Monday.
Lauralton Hall coach Amanda Forcucci said her team did everything it went over in practice to perfection.
“I’m so proud of them,” she said, smiling. “That’s the first word I said to them when I (addressed them after the game). They worked so hard the past couple of days in practice.”
The Crusaders (8-1) packed the paint, forced the Panthers to rely on outside jumpers and held Career to just three first-quarter points and 10 first-half points. Lauralton Hall senior center Emma McCarthy said it was all about defense.
“We needed to play hard defense on Tanaya (Atkinson),” she said. “Our defense won the game.”
McCarthy scored a game-high 17 points and Fabbri added 11 points for the Crusaders.
Meanwhile, Temple-bound Atkinson contributed 10 points on just three made shots for the Panthers (7-1). No other Panther reached double figures in scoring.
“I tried to spread the floor out to get better looks,” she said.
Lauralton Hall dominated from the onset. Well, actually they dominated after Career knocked down a 3-pointer to open the contest.
“They will shoot 3s,” Forcucci said. “We just have to understand that it’s a low percentage shot anyway, 30 percent. So you can’t get discouraged if you see one go in.”
The Crusaders wouldn’t allow many more to go in, allowing seven points the rest of the half and just 16 in the second half. Offensively, Lauralton fell 12 points shy of their average of 58 points per game but managed to connect on enough open opportunities against the No. 3 team in the state.
“It’s not about rankings,” Fabbri said. “We knew they were a great team.”
Career takes on Southern Connecticut Conference rival Mercy Friday, in an SCC final rematch. Panthers coach Steve Bethke said his team has to learn from this loss.
“We’ve got to get better with our efficiency on the offensive end,” he said. “But that’s basketball. Sometimes that’s how it works out.”