COLCHESTER >> When her career is over, RHAM’s sterling senior guard Gretchen Kron is headed to Quinnipiac to play soccer.
Perhaps QU coach Tricia Fabbri should keep an eye on Kron when she reaches campus next fall. Or Fabbri could just head to Mohegan Sun next weekend when Kron’s Sachems will be playing in their school’s first girls basketball championship.
Kron and her teammates put on a show Monday night in the Class L semifinals, toppling defending champion Hand convincingly, 59-40 at Shea Gymnasium at Bacon Academy,
Kron scored 19 points and, along with guard Jaclyn Santella, deftly got RHAM’s senior-dominated post players involved inside as the Sachems led wire-to-wire to punch their tickets to the Sun.
RHAM, the 25-2 top-seeded team in the Class L tournament will face CCC rival and No. 3 seeded Farmington in the championship at a time to be determined next weekend.
“This is the best feeling,” Kron said. “Ever since we were freshmen we’ve wanted to go to the final. It’s been our goal and here we are and we finally did it.”
Santella added 10 points while big forwards Katie Shea, Marisa Lee and Anna Barry combined for 19 points inside.
But Kron, who also starred for RHAM’s Class L runner-up girls soccer team last fall, was the catalyst.
At one point in early in the fourth quarter, she scored 10-consecutive points to help keep Hand at arm’s length.
“I’m not surprised by that,” RHAM’s fourth-year coach Keith Moyer said. “If you watch her coming over half court — and I swear it’s due to soccer — she sees the whole field, she sees the whole court. And when she see something, she goes for it. She’s fearless.”
Partially because of RHAM’s intense pressure defense, Hand never quite found its shooting stroke and fell behind by as much as eight in the first half.
Hand did get within 25-20 with minutes to go before halftime, but RHAM ended the half on a 6-0 run — including Lee’s put back basket at the buzzer — to return its lead to double digits.
“There was a point late in the second half when it was 25-20 and we missed a layup, missed a jumper and you kind of thought, that would have been a nice moment right there,” Hand coach Tim Tredwell said. ”In the end, you need to be able to hit shots.”
Hand started the third quarter on another scoring drought as RHAM built up a 15-point lead.
“You could tell we wanted it so bad, because we came out with so much momentum,” Kron said.
The Tigers’ last gasp came early in the fourth quarter when senior guard Gabby Egidio, who led the Tigers with 13 points, got the lead down to nine (47-38) with a putback of her own miss with just six minutes left.
But RHAM kept finding Kron on the other end for easy buckets. She just wouldn’t be stopped until the Sachems reached Mohegan Sun.
“All credit to RHAM, they were great,” Tredwell said. “They were unselfish. They hit shots. They’re all long as the work week. That’s a great team. They played a great game and they absolutely deserve to be going to Mohegan Sun.”
Halle Freund and Sara Wohlgemuth finished with eight points apiece for Hand, which finished its season 22-5.
RHAM 59, HAND 40
RHAM 18 13 14 14 — 59
HAND 10 10 10 10 — 40
Hannah Martin 2 0-0 4 Emma Sullivan 3 0-0 7 Halle Freund 4 0-0 8 Sara Wohlgemuth 2 4-8 8 Summer Adams 0 0-0 0 Madison Thomas 0 0-0 0 Gabby Egidio 5 3-4 13 Totals: 16 7-12 40
Lia Banoncini 3 0-0 7 Jachlyn Santella 2 6-7 10 Jordan Synodi 2 0-0 4 Gretchen Krom 7 3-6 19 Katie Shea 3 0-0 6 Marisa Lee 4 0-0 8 Anna Barry 2 1-2 5. Totals: 23 10-15 59
3-pointers: H—Sullivan; R—Kron 2, Banoncini; H—Sullivan.