WALLINGFORD >> Amity junior guard Molly Dragan was just cold have done a number of things when the ball landed in her hands with the Spartans tied up Career and less than two minutes remaining. About 10 feet from the hoop, the guard decided to do what she knew coach Michelle Shoop would have told her to.
“Coach always tells me that’s the high percentage shot,” she said. “So I knew I had to take it.”
Coach is always right.
The Dragan’s midrange jumper fell through the net and the 10th-seeded Spratans upset No. 2 Career 50-46 in the Southern Connecticut Conference quarterfinals in Wallingford Saturday. The Spartans got some Emma Gehr free throws to push the lead to the final margin.
“From top to bottom girls were making shots, making good smart plays,” Shoop said. “I think we’re playing our best basketball right now.”
Career was without leading scorer Brooklin Davis, who suffered a knee injury in the season finale to East Haven, a 17-point loss. Coach Steve Bethke said she is out indefinitely.
“Right now we’re not counting on her coming back at all,” he said. “We hope to have her healthy for the second round of the state tournament, but that’s a real pipe dream.”
He said she’s had nagging knee injuries and this is more of the same.
“Her knee it kind of rolled out of the socket,” he said. “I don’t know the ins and outs of it.”
The Panthers got some help in the form of Ky’Jae Hargrove’s 14 points, Breion Knox’s 11 points and Chaniah Pantry’s 10 rebounds.
Amity was led by Graham with 21 points, Dragan finished with eight points for the Spartans. Trailing by five at the half, Graham kept the Spartans in the game with a strong third quarter, according to Shoop.
“We don’t consider (Graham) a junior,” the coach said. “She’s a senior, the last game taking a two to win it, to go ahead. She’s really building up her confidence.”
The Spartans finally broke free in the fourth after Alexa Gibbs caught a post in the low post from Graham and finished with contact, drawing a foul on Career’s Adrianna Dowdy, to put Amity up 44-43. She would miss the free throw, and Career tied the game as Pantry was fouled and made one of two free throws.
Dragan stepped up for the Spartans to put them ahead for good. With the score tied at 44, Graham drove to the basket, the shot missed, Gibbs corralled it at her ankles and flipped it Dragan, who calmly nailed the bucket.
AMITY 50, CAREER 46
Amity 13 9 12 16 – 50
Career 12 15 9 10 – 46
Elise Graham 9 2-2 21, Molly Dragan 3 2-2 8, Emma Gehr 1 4-4 7, Kate Helfenbein 1 3-4 5, Kaitlin Thomas 2 0-0 5, Sarah Killian 1 0-0 2, Alexa Gibbs 1 0-1 2. Totals: 18 11-13 50
Ky’Jae Hargrove 5 4-6 14, Breion Knox 4 3-4 11, Ashley Arroyo 2 0-0 6, Adrianna Dowdy 3 0-0 6, Chanukah Pantry 1 2-4 4, Shantajha Hudgens 1 0-2 3, Falestine Greene 1 0-0 2. Totals: 17 9-16 46
3-point goals: Amity 3 (Graham 1, Gehr 1, Thomas 1); Career 3 (Arroyo 2, Hudgens 1)