In the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader, the Cromwell girls got their transition game going in the second half and pulled away to a 61-33 victory over Portland.
The defending Shoreline champions (5-2 overall) are 4-0 in the conference. The Highlanders lost their fifth straight after a 2-0 start to the season.
Cromwell got a game-high 25 points from Vanessa Stolstajner, who was 10 of 20 from the field. She also had 11 rebounds. Fellow junior forward Najla Cecunjanin had 14 points and 10 rebounds and guard Gina Sousa scored 10 points.
The Panthers did not look sharp early on against Portland’s 2-3 zone and their shots weren’t falling, but they did enough on the offensive end to build an eight-point lead after one.
Portland closed to within five points of Cromwell’s lead in the opening minutes of the second quarter, but the rally did not last. The Panthers started to settle in, and consecutive 3-pointers by Sousa and Stolstajner, plus Stolstajner’s putback on the following possession, created a 15-point advantage with 1:27 left to go in the half.
Cromwell led 30-19 at halftime.
“We looked a little slow and a little sluggish at the start,” Cromwell coach Kelly Maher said. “I thought we were going through the motions. When we started to not settle for outside shots, we cut harder and moved better.
“In the second half we played more our style of game and we were much better on the defensive end. Once we came together it made things much easier for us.”
The Panthers missed their first three shots of the second half, but a 3-pointer by Stolstajner got them untracked. The bucket was the start of a 14-0 run that put the game away. In that spurt, Cecunjanin hit a corner 3-pointer, Cecunjanin fed Stolstajner for a layup, Cecunjanin scored inside, Jessica DellaRatta
Kaitlin Capello led Portland with 12 points and Ashley Garen scored 10 and had five rebounds.
Cromwell hosts Morgan on Friday, while Portland plays on the road at Westbrook.