— Will Aldam (@AldamWill) January 17, 2020
BETHEL — A torrid 26-2 run during the second quarter and start of the third quarter was the difference for the Newtown girls basketball team as it surged past SWC rival Bethel Thursday night.
Bethel held its own against Newtown besides the one strech, but the run proved to be too much to overcome.
Newtown, ranked fourth in the GameTimeCT.com girls basketball poll, coasted to a 53-37 victory.
“We are such a senior, veteran team,” Newtown coach Jeremy O’Connell said. “We have five seniors that all step up. Alicea came in today and hit two or three huge shots for us in crucial time. Julia Cryder played really well against Maranda (Nyborg) tonight. Amy Sapenter, Smith and Wilson have been great for us all year so we know what we are going to get from them.”
Cyleigh Wilson led Newtown with 15 points, shooting 10-13 from the line while teammate Amy Sapenter racked up 13 points behind three 3-pointers.
“In practice we always shoot free throws after we run so I think just doing that helps,” Wilson said. “Our team chemistry, I think is the best it’s ever been. We are really close on and off the court which helps us support each other, so it has been really good.”
Newtown got out to an early 8-0 lead, preventing Bethel from scoring in the first four minutes and 57 seconds.
Bethel retaliated with a 10-1 run to take a 10-9 lead into the second quarter before the Newtown breakout.
Newtown proceeded to go on an 18-2 second quarter behind four 3-pointers, two by O’Connell and one apiece for Emma Magazu and Rebecca Alicea for a 27-12 lead at the half.
Newtown continued its run by scoring the first eight points of the third quarter before Bethel regained composure, cutting down the deficit to 40-24.
Bethel eventually reduced the deficit to nine points, but Newtown held on behind the free throw shooting of Wilson, who was 8-9 in the final quarter.
Newtown (8-1) is off to a red hot start this season and has now won five consecutive games after its lone loss to Bridgewater (Mass) on December 28th.
“It has been a pretty nice start, but we keep telling ourselves that we haven’t won anything yet,” Jeremy O’Connell said. “We have not played a complete game yet, so after every game we have had a ton to work on. Tonight, in the fourth quarter, we just didn’t maintain our composure, so it is something we can work on; rebounding we can work on. We are glad that it is all correctable things for us to get even better.”
Bethel (5-5) was shut down in its quest for a third straight win, but the team has shown flashes of its potential lately.
“We are still learning, we are a young team,” Bethel coach Anderson Rawlins said. “When we learn to believe in the system and play together for four quarters, I think everybody else is going to be surprised at what we can do.”
A previous version of this story incorrectly attributed 13 points to Chloe O’Connell, when it was Amy Sapenter who scored the points. It has been corrected and updated.