NEWTOWN — Newtown will get its chance to repeat as SWC Champion after a 56-44 semifinal victory over New Fairfield.
Second-seeded Newtown wore down No. 6 New Fairfield after an even first quarter to convincingly dash the Rebels hopes of another upset.
Cyleigh Wilson led the Newtown charge with 18 points and was followed closely by teammate Amy Sapenter who added 17.
“We are so excited,” Wilson said. “It has been our goal since the beginning of the season, to get back into that championship game and just give us a chance. All we need is a chance.”
After allowing 18 points in the first quarter, the Newtown defense turned it on in the middle two quarters allowing just 13 New Fairfield points combined.
“They are a really good basketball team that is highly skilled and they showed that tonight,” New Fairfield coach Brendan Moore said.
“They were able to move the ball on us and do what they do really well which is hit outside shots. I give them a lot of credit, they made those shots and we played them better a week ago at our place, but they made some adjustments and they showed how skilled they are and how deep they are as a team.”
In those two quarters Newtown racked up 31 points of its own to lead by 18, a deficit that would prove to be well out of New Fairfield’s reach.
“The girls just believed in everything we had been doing and they buckled down,” Newtown coach Jeremy O’Connell said. “Hats off to New Fairfield, they came out hard, they hit shot after shot. Brendan (Moore) does a great job with them because they believe in everything he does and they fight hard for him.”
Last season Newtown, currently ranked No. 3 in the GameTimeCT Girls Basketball Poll, took down Bethel 52-32 in the SWC championship. The Hawks will look to repeat against No. 1 Notre Dame-Fairfield.
“(Notre-Dame Fairfield) is fantastic,” O’Connell said. “The game that we played against them here earlier in the year was a great game. A lot of times we said in the locker room, you can lose to somebody and you don’t get the chance to see them down the road. Let’s see what we’ve done to improve to maybe take that next step.”
Newtown will enter the game riding a 10-game winning streak dating back to January 27th when it suffered back-to-back loses to Notre Dame and NFA (43-29).
“I am excited for the girls,” O’Connell said. “The hard work, the effort and the intensity. They have put in so much work, especially these seniors, over the last four years. I am just very proud of their continuous effort and they want to be there. They want to win, they want to have special moments and it is great to be around that because it feeds off to everybody else.”
After taking out No. 3 Pomperaug in the quarterfinal round, New Fairfield’s attempt at a storybook run was cut short, but it looking forward to make a run in the Class MM State Tournament.
“We will probably take a day off and rest a little bit,” Moore said. “Then we will turn the page to the MM Tournament. We feel like our conference schedule has really prepared us to play anyone in the state, we’ve played the No. 1 team in the state and now the No. 3 team in the state twice and I think we are battle tested and we’ll be ready to go.”