HAMDEN—Less than a minute into the third quarter, the Hamden girls basketball team went up by nine on East Haven.
With under a minute to play in the third, East Haven had stormed all the way back, tying the game.
Hamden’s response, opening the fourth quarter on an 8-2 run, told Dragons coach Amanda Forcucci all she needed to know about her team.
The No. 6 Dragons pulled away in the fourth and then held on, beating No. 5 East Haven 60-56.
It was the first league loss for East Haven, snapping its 12-game winning streak.
“The ability to adjust and answer. That was big. I think we grew up a little tonight,” Forcucci said. “This was a game against a playoff-caliber team and it’s senior night and they were hungry for it. It’s the end of the season and we are trying to prep for tournament time and whoever comes our way, we just want to be prepared.”
The win by Hamden denied East Haven the No. 1 seed in the upcoming SCC tournament, though the Yellow Jackets can still claim the top spot if they win out.
The victory was the sixth in a row for Hamden after losing to East Haven 72-59 on Jan. 23
Hamden (16-2) dominated the offensive backboards, picking up rebound after rebound and getting follow-up baskets.
“If you look at it, we turned the ball over eight times in the first half and gave up (14) offensive boards. You are giving a team 25 extra possessions,” East Haven coach Anthony Russell said. “The fact we were only down seven at halftime, was lucky.”
In the third quarter, East Haven went to a 2-3 zone, slowing Hamden down and forcing outside shots, allowing the Yellow Jackets to get back in the game.
East Haven (15-3) was led by 26 points by Taylor Salato and 25 from Makenzie Helms.
In the fourth quarter, Thompson and fellow senior Makaela Johnson took over for the Dragons.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Taniyah Thompson, Hamden: Thompson was on fire, scoring a game-high 26 points, including seven in the fourth quarter.
“We all put it all out on the court tonight. We were undefeated at home and we just needed to get this win,” Thompson said. “We wanted this one really bad. The first time we played them, we were all out of control but tonight we did everything the way were supposed to.”
HAMDEN 60 EAST HAVEN 54
EAST HAVEN 10 12 20 14—56
HAMDEN 15 14 15 16–60
EAST HAVEN (15-3) Makenzie Helms 11 2-2 25 Taylor Salato 11 4-4 26 Erin Curran 1 0-0 2 Angelina Munoz 0 0-0 0 Isabella Ragaini 1 1-2 3 Alexis Pendziwater 0-0 0 Alannah Doheny 0 0-0 0. Totals: 24 7-8 56
HAMDEN (16-2) Asya Brandon 1 3-5 5 Rebecca Oberman-Levine 3 0-1 6 Yariliz Santiago 1 0-0 2 Makaela Johnson 7 1-1 15 Taniyah Thompson 11 4-6 26 Kyndal Russell 0 0-0 0 Diamond White 0 0-0 0 Sarah Streete 2 2-2 6 Jordyn Alston 0 0-0 0. Totals: 25 10-17 60
3-POINT FIELD GOALS: EH—Helms
FOULED OUT: None