— Mike Madera (@MikeMadera2) March 5, 2018
WALLINGFORD — Career junior Carmen Rosemond and her teammates remember the bitter taste of being upset in last year’s state semifinals against Bacon Academy. It may have taken a year, but the Panthers will now get a chance to avenge that loss.
Rosemond was part of a third-quarter run where No. 20 Career scored 24 points and took control to upset No. 12 Sheehan 51-34 in a CIAC Class M quarterfinal at Sheehan High School in Wallingford on Monday.
“It was either win or go home,” Rosemond said. “We started to play with confidence. I realized I was playing a little tentative and I had to help my team.”
The Panthers advanced to the semifinals, where they will face No. 9 Weston, a 51-38 upset winner over top-seeded Northwestern, at a site and time to be determined Friday evening. Career (16-9) is looking to advance to its first state final since beating Mercy in 2011.
“We were having trouble getting to the basket in the first half,” Career coach Steve Bethke said. “We needed to get more dribble drive penetration. We needed to get some good looks and take the easy basket when they gave it to us. She (Rosemond) sparked us. She hit those shots to start the third quarter and she got some big rebounds for us. She works hard and she worked on her 3-point shooting in the offseason. It paid dividends tonight.”
With the Panthers leading by just three points at the half, Rosemond heated up, scoring 12 of her 14 points in the third quarter, including nine from 3-point range.
The junior extended the lead to six off the opening tip of the second half with a 3-pointer, then hit another from long range for a 27-20 advantage. When Rosemond drained her third 3-pointer of the quarter with 3:03 left in the third, Career had a 41-24 lead.
“The third quarter was the difference,” Sheehan coach Mike Busillo said. “Rosemond hit three 3’s, and they scored 24 points. That was the ball game. They came out and hit their shots. You have to tip your cap to them.”
The Titans (17-8) never got closer than 15 points the rest of the way. Kayla Franklin gave Career its biggest lead of the half at 51-30 with 3:23 left in the game.
“They were tough letting us get the ball inside,” Bethke said. “They are a good ball club. They do not really have a real weakness. We thought if we got it to a fast-paced game, that would work to our advantage.”
Sheehan trailed for a majority of the opening half, tying the game briefly at 16 with 1:40 left in the second quarter on a pair of free throws by Alexia Ocasio. The Panthers again took the lead, scoring the next five pints on a 3-pointer by Franklin and a bucket by Ky’Jae Hargrove for a 21-16 advantage.
The first quarter was not kind to the Titans as they would hit on just a field goal by Olivia Robles and a 3-pointer, also by Robles. Other than that, the Titans could not get on track offensively and trailed since Career opened with the first six points of the game.
The Panthers used a pair of field goals by Ciara Little to jump out by six, then a 3-pointer by the junior to extend the margin to 9-2 with 2:21 left in the opening quarter.
“We tell the kids one game at a time,” Bethke said. “Anybody can beat anybody on any given night. Anything can happen.”
The Titans started to chip away to start the second quarter, hitting their first four free throws to get within 11-9. The quickness of the Panthers altered the shooting of the Titans as Sheehan scored just four points from outside the free throw line on buckets by Robles and Sydney Hunt.
While the Titans were cold, Career was able to hold the lead, before extending the margin on a 3-pointer by Kayla Franklin.
Career 51, Sheehan 34
CAREER<WL>11 10 24 6—51
SHEEHAN<WL>5 13 10 6—34
Ky’Jae Hargrove 3 2-3 8; Carmen Rosemond 5 1-4 14; Kayla Franklin 5 0-0 12; Ciara Little 5 2-3 15; Yariliz Santiago 0 2-2 2 Totals18 7-12 51
Hayleigh Lagase 1 1-4 3; Olivia Robles 4 0-0 9; Carolyn Biel 2 2-2 7; Alexia Ocasio 0 5-6 5; Caitlyn Velez 0 5-6 5; Sydney Hunt 2 1-2 5; Totals 9 14-20 34
3-Pointers: C: Rosemond (3), Franklin (2); Little (3); S:Robles (1), Biel (1).