No. 2 Norwalk knocks off No. 1 New London
NEW LONDON—There will be a new No. 1.
Trailing by 11 in the third quarter, on the road against the No. 1 team in the state, No. 2 Norwalk kept its composure and began chipping away.
Switching to a zone defense in an attempt to slow down New London, the Bears whittled the lead down to just two points after three quarters, holding the Whalers to 5 points in the third.
Then it was on as the two heavyweights in Connecticut girls basketball went back-and-forth with Norwalk pulling off the 49-47 win as New London’s last-second shot missed the target, setting off the celebration for the Bears.
“Amazing. I have been waiting for this since freshman year and now that it is actually happening, I am so excited,” Norwalk senior Ashley Wilson said. “(K.D. Spencer Roman) played great defense. I give her a lot of credit for that. My team picked up the slack. They knew I was fully guarded and couldn’t do as much and they did what they had to do and they helped to win this game.”
Wilson was face-guarded by Roman all game, holding her to seven points, all in the second half.
Norwalk’s first lead of the game came with 6:01 left in the fourth when it went up 38-37.
The winning basket came with under a minute to play on a runner by Jakara Murray.
The Bears (14-0) missed the front-end of a one-and-one with :07.1 left to play.
New London called timeout and taking the ball out under the Norwalk basket, brought it down court only to have a contested baseline shot miss everything.
New London (12-2) coach Holly Misto said her team needed to take care of the ball better against Norwalk’s zone.
“We need to play smarter. We have a 10-point lead they go zone, just pass the ball but instead we were taking shots we don’t need to take,” Misto said. “We have to learn to value the basketball. We are young. I know we have leadership but we are also very young. We were forcing shots that weren’t there. As soon as they went zone on it, it slowed the game down. We have to value the ball on the fast break and take care of it.”
Tai Pagan led New London with 14 points.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
In a game with big names all over it was Norwalk freshman Serenity Mayhew leaving her mark on the contest. The forward scored five of her team-high 10 points in the fourth quarter, including one that put the Bears up 47-45 late.
“Big night for a freshman. She was already comfortable because she had a good game against them in a summer tournament. She told me before the game she could play in this game and when you hear a freshman say that, I’m going to give her a try,” Norwalk coach Ricky Fuller said. “This is why we play these games, so, when we get to the end of the year, you are used to playing in a game like this. We just came in and beat a really tough New London team. They deserved to be No. 1 but we think we deserve to be No. 1, also.”
NORWALK 49, NEW LONDON 47
NORWALK 11 12 11 15—49
NEW LONDON 13 18 5 11--47
NORWALK (14-0) Ashley Wilson 2 3-3 7; Sanaa Boyd 1 1-3 3; Carsyn Langhorn 2 3-4 7; Anaijah Morgan 2 0-1 4; Belinda Hunte 2 0-0 5; Jakara Murray 3 0-0 6; Naeva Rene 3 1-2 7; Serenity Mayhew 4 2-3 10; Lamia Ashley 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19 10-16 49
NEW LONDON (12-2) K.D. Spencer Roman 0 3-5 3; Joniyah Bland-Fitzpatrick 2 2-6 6; Xaryia Melendez 3 2-5 8; Tai Pagan 6 2-2 14; Olivia Yard 1 0-0 3; Jayden Burns 1 3-4 5; Wendy Gethers 1 4-4 6; Desiree Johnson 0 0-0 0; DaJah Uzzle 0 2-2 2. Totals: 14 18-28 47
3-point field goals: N—Hunte. NL--Yard
Fouled out: None