By Jimmy Zanor
@ShoreLineSports on Twitter
CROMWELL >> Cromwell sophomore guard Emma Belcourt came off the bench and scored a game-high 17 points, while sophomore forward Mya Villard had 14 points and eight rebounds to lead the Panthers over Haddam-Killingworth, 65-51, in a SLC girls basketball contest Monday night at Salafia Gymnasium.
Cromwell has now won 15 straight and 44 of their last 45.
The Panthers took control with an 8-2 run at the end of the first half. A Belcourt layup off a steal. and a low post hoop from Villard capped the spurt, giving Cromwell a 25-15 lead at intermission.
“(Emma) played like she’s capable of playing tonight,” said Cromwell coach Kelly Maher. “It’s good to see her when she is like that because it makes us that much stronger, to have another scorer. She’s tough to defend.”
Cromwell (16-1) extended its lead to 39-25 after three quarters and then continued rolling in the fourth quarter. The Panthers got a low post bucket from senior Janelle Harrison (10 points), a nifty feed from Harrison to Belcourt for a fastbreak layup, and a jumper from sophomore Araya Lessard and suddenly Cromwell led 54-34 with 5:14 left to play.
But H-K rallied.
Senior Maya Savino and freshman Brinley Anderson (11 points) drained consecutive 3-point bombs, and Savino converted a fastbreak hoop off a steal and feed from senior Lauren McCann and the Cougars were off and running on a 13-0 run.
Junior Jess Kasper added a nice spin move in the low post before free throws from junior Halie Serbent and McCann cut Cromwell’s lead to 54-47 with 2:30 remaining.
But that’s as close as the Cougars could get as the Panthers made 9 of 12 free throws down the stretch.
“I was happy with the way we were able to fight through,” said Maher. “Even though things weren’t going our way we didn’t give up and we fought through rebounds and we took better care of the ball. We did the little things that were necessary at the end.”
McCann finished with 14 points and six rebounds, while Serbent chipped in 13 points and eight rebounds.
The Cougars (13-4) entered the game having won six straight after losing senior center Kyle Anderson (back injury) for the season in a loss at Coginchaug on Jan. 14.
“I can’t be prouder of how my girls played tonight,” said H-K coach Jim Bombaci. “They have not quit. You could see they play as a team, they work together, they care about each other. I can’t be any happier with a group of girls than I am right now.”