MADISON — There were a couple of hold your breath moments, but the Hand girls’ basketball team remained unbeaten in the Southern Connecticut Conference Hammonasset Division.
The Tigers nearly blew a 12-point fourth quarter lead Friday night, but escaped with a 56-48 victory over Jonathan Law.
With the win, Hand improved to 4-0 in the division and 8-4 overall. Law, which came into the game without a division loss as well, fell to 3-1 and 6-6.
“It feels good to be 4-0 in the division and 8-4 overall,” Hand coach Tim Tredwell said. “This is the SCC, so there’s never a night off in this league. Anything can happen.”
Hand, which led for all but 2 minutes all night, took a 45-33 lead into the fourth quarter, but the Tigers went totally cold from the field, while Law put additional pressure on the ball at half court.
All of a sudden, things changed.
“We got caught in between,” Tredwell said. “When you’re up 12, you can stay patient and milk the clock. We had kids with wide-open 3s and they got hesitant. We didn’t take shots.”
Laura Dulin scored eight of her 17 points to lead Law back to within two points on two different occasions, 46-44, with 3:36 to play and then 50-48 with 1:27 to go.
During those two big Law runs, Hand had trouble from the free-throw line as it did all night in going 22-for-37.
“The kid (Dulin) averages 17 a game and she’s going to find a way to score,” Tredwell said. “You can hold her down and contain her a bit, but you hope the rest of her team isn’t feeling it as well.”
Dulin collected her fourth foul with 1:12 remaining in the contest. The Eagles we were forced to foul and Gillian Kraemer hit four free throws and Cassidy Wygonik (12 points) hit a pair to close things out.
“We found ways to finish and get the job done,” Tredwell said. “I was proud of them not to get rattled. Late in the game, teams don’t give up — not in this league.”
Law took a 6-3 lead early in the game on a Danielle Nastel 3-pointer, but Hand went on a 9-2 run to close out the opening quarter to grab a 16-9 edge.
The Tigers pushed their lead into double figures, 30-18, right before intermission on a 3-pointer by Lily Taylor (11 points). Law closed it to 39-33 with 3:30 left in the third quarter, but Hand went on a 6-0 spurt going to the fourth quarter up by the 45-33 margin.
Geena Catalano added 11 points for Hand, while Erin Saley and Jess Centore each had 11 points for Law.