BURLINGTON >> Kolbe Cathedral’s girls basketball (14-3) team brought a harsh dose of Class M reality to the Lewis Mills High School gym Wednesday night in a 63-34 rout of the Spartans (14-3).
The Spartans and Cougars have scheduled each other for four years in a row for a chance to get out of their conferences and prepare for the Class M State Tournament.
Last year, the game in Bridgeport went to triple overtime before the Cougars won by a point.
This year, it happened much earlier.
Both teams rank high in their leagues. The Spartans are tied with Nonnewaug for first place in the Berkshire League, Kolbe Cathedral owns second place in the SouthWest Conference.
The difference shows up in the losses. Kolbe lost to Career Magnet, ranked ninth in the state, in December, then lost to No. 4 Laurelton Hall at the end of January.
Mills, in a tough BL contest at the top, has losses to Nonnewaug and Northwestern.
“I want to play (Kolbe Cathedral) for the rest of my career,” said Spartan coach Joe Capitani. “I don’t care if we take a bad loss; it shows us where we are and what we need to work on. It helps our team get ready for the state tournament.”
For Cougar coach Lisa Hodges, it was a chance to get her team back on track after a stunning conference loss Tuesday night to 10-8 Joel Barlow.
“Once a season, you always get that game,” she smiled.
Wednesday, Kolbe opened in a two-three zone.
Mills center Teagan Dunn (game-high 22 points, 14 rebounds) and the Spartans loved it.
Kolbe’s Kayla Weaver (14 points) darted in for two layups that gave the Cougars an early lead, but Dunn had room to operate underneath. Mikayla Penn had room to drive, 4-4.
Dunn dominated with six points for the quarter.
Cougar’s Klara Epps (team-high 17 points) and Denisha Gardner chipped in for a 15-11 Kolbe lead by the end of the first.
Still, it looked like another battle.
Coach Hodges ended the war before it got started, switching to man-to-man for the rest of the game, often extending full court.
“They got us rattled and we couldn’t recover,” said Coach Capitani.
Individually, several of the Cougars are quicker and bigger than their Spartan counterparts.
Add double teaming on pass attempts to Dunn and the Mills weapons disappeared.
The score ran to 32-19 by the half, 42-29 after three.
“I thought we had to do three things to win, coming in,” said Capitani. “Play tougher than them, out-rebound them and control the transition game. We struggled in all three areas.”
Kolbe Cathedral 63, Lewis Mills 34
At Lewis Mills High School
Kolbe Cathedral 15 17 10 21—63
Lewis Mills 11 8 10 5—34
Kolbe Cathedral (63): Klara Epps 8-1-17; Leah Hodges 3-0-6; Denisha Gardner 2-5-9; Keyonni Adams 2-0-4; Keyonni Adams 2-0-4; Kayla Weaver 7-0-14; Makayla Nelson 4-2-11; Chiniki Fils 1-0-2; Totals: 27-8-63.
Lewis Mills (34): Mackenzie Bergstrom 2-0-5; Ailene Berry 1-0-2; Lesleigh Carter 0-1-1; Teagan Dunn 10-2-22; Jennifer Merritt 0-0-0; Corinne Morrow 0-0-0; Mikayla Penn 2-0-4; Rebecca Perrault 0-0-0; Julia Sheahan 0-0-0; Amanda Sullivan 0-0-0; Totals: 15-3-34.
3-point goals: KC—Nelson. LM—Bergstrom.
Records: Kolbe Cathedral 14-3; Lewis Mills 14-3.