HAMDEN – Hamden’s Taniyah Thompson knew the importance of Friday evening’s Southern Connecticut Conference Quinnipiac Division contest. The junior made sure the Green Dragons came away with the victory.
Behind 22 points from Thompson, including 16 in the first half when Hamden took control of the game, Hamden topped Wilbur Cross 70-46 at Hamden High.
“We started the season slow and we picked up some momentum,” Thompson said. “We were able to get some wins against some good teams. We want to get better as we move on.”
Thompson took over in the first quarter, scoring 12 points and leading the Green Dragons on a 14-3 run to close the quarter. The junior scored eight of those points, including the final four of the quarter to give Hamden an 18-7 advantage.
When Thompson connected on Hamden’s first field goal of the second quarter, and fellow junior Makaela Johnson followed with a 3-pointer, Hamden (7-3) increased the margin to 25-11. Johnson connected on another 3-pointer later in the quarter for a 32-13 advantage, before a bucket by Sarah Streete gave Hamden its biggest lead of the first half at 36-15.
“It is a divisional game and you want to make sure you win every game in the division,” Hamden coach Amanda Forcucci said. “We want to make sure we come out on top in those games. Three of our losses have been against top ten teams in the state. We want to make sure we are out there every game doing what we are trying to do, and that is getting better every game.”
For the Governors, the game slipped away early in the second quarter as Hamden controlled the boards and the Governors could not get a shot to fall.
Cross (8-4) hit only two field goals in the second quarter, the first to start the scoring in the quarter, and the second to end it. In between, the Governors hit 6-of-8 free throws to account for their second quarter scoring.
“We missed layups and did not handle them (Hamden),” Cross guard Anaija Ricks said. “Their defense stopped us as well. They are a great shooting team. Our strength is running down the court on fast breaks. We did not get many of those. They forced us to take shots and when we missed, they went the other way to score.”
The Governors twice got within 15 points in the third quarter on buckets by freshman April Artis and junior Tyannah Tucker, but each time, Hamden responded, the latter a 17-0 run to give Hamden a 59-26 lead with 41 seconds to go in the third quarter.
The Green Dragons started the run with baskets by Johnson and Thompson, and a 3-pointer and bucket by Asya Brandon, before Johnson capped the run with another 3-pointer.
“We knew we had to come out early and attack,” Thompson said. “We knew we had to get points early. We wanted to take away the confidence of their team.”
Johnson and Thompson put the exclamation point on the victory as they led Hamden to a 6-0 run to start the final quarter, with four points coming from Johnson, who finished with a game-high 23 points.
“She (Thompson) is one of the smoothest kids I have ever coached,” Forcucci said. “She is always ready to play no matter who we are playing against. She is always ready and rises to the level of the competition. We have Makaela (Johnson). Teams adjust to Taniyah and we have Makaela. She is effortless with her three-point shots.”
Tucker led Cross with 12 points, while Ariaan Moore added nine. Brandon added eight points, and Streete had seven for the Green Dragons.
HAMDEN 70, WILBUR CROSS 46
C – 7 10 14 15 – 46
H – 18 18 25 9 – 70
Anaija Ricks 1 1-1 3; Tynisha Thomas 1 0-0 2; Kayla Jefferson 0 1-2 1; Jade Hill 1 0-0 2; Tyannah Tucker 3 6-8 12; Ariaan Moore 3 2-2 9; Kandie Everette 2 1-2 5; Tashea Nelson 1 0-0 3; Dejah Middleton 1 0-0 2; April Artis 3 0-0 7
Asya Brandon 3 1-2 8; Rebecca Oberman 2 0-0 5; Sarah Streete 2 3-5 7; Makaela Johnson 9 0-0 23; Taniyah Thompson 8 6-7 22; Kyndal Russell 1 1-2 3; Montsho Canton 0 2-2 2
C: Ariaan Moore (1), Tashea Nelson (1), April Artis (1)
H: Asya Brandon (1), Rebecca Oberman (1), Makaela Johnson (5)