NEW HAVEN – Speed.
That was the big difference Friday night as Career took advantage of it on both sides of the ball en route to a 48-38 victory over Rocky Hill in the second round of the CIAC Class M girls’ basketball tournament.
The win pushed the Panthers into the quarterfinals where they will host St. Paul Thursday night. St. Paul ousted Valley Regional, 52-33, Friday night.
“Having scouted them, we felt our speed would be in our favor,” Career coach Steve Bethke said.
Career (20-4) trailed for just 34 seconds in the entire game when Melanie Holmes put Rocky Hill ahead, 2-0, just 23 seconds into the game. But Ky’Jae Hargrove’s bucket tied it at 2-2 to start a 12-3 run by the Panthers over the remainder of the opening quarter.
“We were prepping for it the last few days,” Rocky Hill coach Allyson Toulouse said. “I think we had only two turnovers in the first half, but (Career’s speed) rushed us.”
Early on, Rocky Hill (14-8) tried to take advantage of its height to force Career to take jump shots. The Terriers packed in their defense inside the paint.
“We’re long and we’re tall, but we’re not as fast as they are,” Toulouse said. “We couldn’t play man defense all game.”
But Carmen Rosemond (game high 15 points) was still able to get inside the lane and scored seven points in the first quarter as Rocky Hill kept Hargrove off the scoreboard for the rest of the half.
Ciara Little and Kayla Williams (10 points) had to take over point guard spot in the second quarter when Hargrove picked up her second foul. They combined for all 11 Career points as the Panthers took a 23-11 edge at halftime.
A layup by Maya Lee gave Career its biggest lead of the game, 31-13, with 4:42 to go in the third quarter as Rocky Hill had trouble handling the Panthers switching back and forth between a 2-3 zone with a trap and man-to-man defense.
“Defensively, it was a team effort,” Bethke said. “Sometimes, they were able to throw over it us.”
Rocky Hill got it down to 12 points three times over the remainder of the third quarter with Nicole Lukens (a team high 11 points), but could only score 23 points in the first 24 minutes.
“They are really quick in the front line, but we missed opportunities,” Toulouse said. “Give it to them. We knew coming down here they are tough, physical, fast and disciplined in what they do.”
Career’s lead remained in double digits in the fourth quarter with Rocky Hill only coming as close as the final 10-point margin.
“A W is a W and now we’ll look at Thursday against St. Paul,” Bethke said.
CAREER 48, ROCKY HILL 38
(at New Haven)
Rocky Hill 5 6 12 15 – 38
Career 12 11 12 13 – 48
ROCKY HILL (38)
Melanie Holmes 3 1-2 7, Nikki Lukens 5 1-3 11, Grace Fisher 3 1-2 7, Aleksa Peterson 4 0-0 8, Lizzy DeNardo 1 0-0 3, Corrine Stablie 1 0-0 2, Lordina Orleans-Onyina 0 0-0 0, Sammy Steinman 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17 3-7 38
KyJae Hargrove 3 2-5 8, Kayla Williams 4 2-2 10, Ciara Little 2 0-0 5, Maya Lee 3 1-2 7, Carmen Rosemond 7 1-1 15, Kayla Franklin 1 0-0 3. Totals: 20 6-10 48
3-point goals: Rocky Hill 1 (DeNardo 1); Career 2 (Little 1, Franklin 1); Notes: Rosemond had 12 rebounds. Lee had 10 rebounds and 3 blocks. Little had 5 steals and 6 assists. For more on this game, visit GameTimeCT.com.