PLAINVILLE >> For the first time in history, a public school from Hartford is making it’s third state title game appearance in four years.
Weaver filled up the middle, blocked shots and thus defeated Farmington, 50-38 in the Class L semi-finals at Plainville High School Tuesday night.
“We came in tonight knowing that we would play a great team and they were the better team tonight,” Farmington coach Russ Crist said. “And it wasn’t even really close.”
Weaver moves on to the Class L finals at Mohegan Sun this weekend with the date and time to still be determined. It will be their third state finals appearance in four years and first in Class L. They beat Tolland in 2012 and lost to Windham in 2011, both Class M.
The Beavers will play another Hartford school, top-seeded Capital Prep in the final. The Trailblazers, who won last year’s Class S title, are the top ranked team in the GameTimeCT / Register Top 10 poll. Capital Prep routed Ledyard 80-61 in the other semifinal.
“That’s the game everyone wanted to see the beginning of the year. We want to see it too,” Weaver coach Wendell Williams said. “They’re great and I said all along that we had a good team too. It should be a great game.”
The Beavers knew if they wanted to control Farmington, they would have to contain junior Sophie Borg.
They did. Weaver’s Stewart sisters, Amanda and Alyssa, blocked and changed a number of inside shots, holding Borg to a team-high 13 points.
“We made sure that we were going defense a lot,” Weaver sophomore Shaquana Edwards said. “We made sure that we had the middle occupied.”
The Indians began to mount a comeback in the third quarter. Borg dropped in two layups and Bridget Kelly added one of her own to cut the deficit to 10. Cheray Saunders and Mary Schoenherr went to the line back-to-back sinking 3 of 4 annd willing the Indians to within seven.
But that would be as close as they would get.
“We knew we had to make a statement right away that we were going to make this a game,” Crist said. “I thought they did a really nice job of doing that.”
Weaver ended the third quarter with a 5-0 run to get the lead back to double-figures, sealed by a DeJane James fast-break layup as time wound down.
Both teams were a little cold to start the game, but it was Weaver that eventually warmed up first.
After Saunders scored the first point of the game from the free throw line, Alyssa and Amanda Stewart each had a layup, wrapped around an Edwards 3 and the Beavers were up 7-1.
Edwards turned it on in the second quarter, hitting a 3 from the left corner in front of the Farmington bench and then laying one in with 1:48 left. She scored 10 of her 13 points in the first half.
Edwards didn’t have to be the star tonight, because her teammates chipped in equally.
“I think we’re stronger now,” Williams said. “The beginning of the season I was only playing six and now I can play nine, we got some injured girls back, that made a difference.”
“Snoop” James and Alyssa Stewart each also had 13 points to go with countless shot disruptions.
“Their shot blocking ability really bothered us and just couldn’t finish,” Crist said. “Even when they didn’t block shots, they affected them. We were fading away, double-clutch, spinning away from contact.”