Few teams enjoyed the holidays as much as Amity.
After not receiving any votes in the preseason GametimeCT Top 10 poll, the Spartans came out trying to prove they belonged in the conversation not just in the SCC but in the state.
Amity knocked off Career Magnet 59-30 before putting the state on notice with a 50-48 win at defending Class L champions Hillhouse.
Riding the momentum off the Hillhouse win, the Spartans won their holiday tournament, defeating highly-regarded Trumbull 40-32 before ending 2019 with a 51-32 romp over Bethel.
“We play that tournament every year, moving it around between the schools and this is the first time, we won it,” Amity coach Michelle Shoop said. “It means a lot for us to win that tournament, especially on our home court. It’s a great way to start the season getting wins against a very good Trumbull team and a really tough Bethel team.”
Jillian Martin was named Tournament MVP, putting up a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds, also adding 7 assists in the Trumbull game.
Jayne Whitman scored 11 points while Sarah Granados nearly got her own double-double with 8 points and 8 rebounds
Senior Meadow Blakeslee was named to The All-Tournament team along with Martin.
Martin is the lone starter back from last year, playing in a starting lineup consisting of two seniors, two juniors and a sophomore.
Martin, one of the GametimeCT 25 players to watch, is certainly not alone, with several players stepping up, early in the season.
“Jill is a triple threat, she can drive, pull up and pass and she is a defensive force,” Shoop said. “Right now, we are getting contributions from a lot of players. The biggest thing we are doing is that everyone is hitting the boards and getting rebounds. That has been the biggest thing for us. Meghan Smith has been playing amazing defense and Meadow Blakeslee has been huge for us, doing everything.”
Amity lost its first game, 57-55 at the buzzer to Hamden, Friday night.
FAST START FOR FCIAC
Coming into the season, the top teams in the FCIAC were thought to be among the best in the state.
The early-season results did little to dispel that, with eight teams coming out of December with one or no losses.
When Newtown, from the SWC, beat No. 1 ranked Norwalk handily on opening night, it reverberated through the state.
However, the Bears quickly rebounded, rattling off four-straight wins, including a 55-53 buzzer beater against preseason No. 8 Wilbur Cross.
Cross was also knocked off by Trumbull (5-1), who also beat No. 9 Hamden from the SCC.
Stamford is now 5-0 as it prepares to dive into its full FCIAC schedule, next week.
The opening weeks did offer some surprises with Darien jumping out to a 4-0 start before falling to New Canaan and Danbury.
Speaking of New Canaan, the Rams picked up a big 50-32 win against defending Class S champions Trinity Catholic in the first game of 2020 for both squads.
Trinity, which picked up 77 votes in the preseason, has been one of the few disappointments for the league, going 1-4 out of the gate.
1,000 FOR LAU
Despite just beginning her sophomore season, Caroline Lau of St. Luke’s as already joined the 1,000 career points club.
Lau scored a team-high 25 points in the Storm’s 69-57 loss against Brooks School, Saturday, moving her over 1,000 points in the process.
This past summer, Lau was selected to try out for the 2019 U16 National Women’s Basketball team.