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FCIAC girls basketball semifinals Bears rally into final

February 20, 2019 GMT

TRUMBULL — The first quarter of the FCIAC semifinals was arguably as bad as the Norwalk girls basketball team has played all season.

The team missed layups, turned the ball over and got beat inside by Danbury.

Despite the subpar effort from the No. 1 team in the state, the Bears led Danbury by one point after the first quarter.

“There are times I wonder how we play so bad and how we have an undefeated season,” Norwalk coach Ricky Fuller said. “They seem to self-correct and do what needs to be done to get a win. We have been taking it one game at a time and now we need to focus on the winner of Ridgefield and Trinity.”

The No. 1-seeded Bears did self-correct, firing up the defense and holding No. 4 Danbury to just five points in the second quarter and only seven more in the third.

Norwalk pulled away despite struggling from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, going 6 of 13 over the final eight minutes.

The Bears walked off the Trumbull High court with a 49-36 win, heading now to the FCIAC championship game Thursday night at 7 p.m. against the winner between No. 3 Trinity Catholic and No. 7 Ridgefield.

Jakara Murray-Leach led Norwalk with 17 points, scoring most of her points in transition.

“(Murray-Leach) really stepped up,” Fuller said. “She usually plays well in big games. She stepped up tonight and put the ball in the basket and played some solid defense. She did well tonight.”

Ashley Wilson added 13 for the Bears, who return to the FCIAC final for the first time since losing in the 2002 final to Trinity.

Norwalk won three straight FCIAC titles from 1999-2001.

For Danbury, senior Susana Almeida and sophomore Tianna Rogers each scored 12 points.

Sericson@stamfordadvocate.com

NORWALK 49, DANBURY 36

DANBURY (16-6)

Tianna Rogers 5 2-2 12 Sabrina Almeida 2 1-1 6 Iyanna Neal 1 0-0 2 Susana Almeida 4 1-2 12 Ty’Lynn Ith 2 0-0 4. Totals: 14 4-5 36.

NORWALK (22-0)

Ashley Wilson 4 2-4 14 Carsyn Langhorn 2 1-2 5 Anaijah Morgan 2 0-1 4 Sanaa Boyd 0 0-2 0 Jakara Murray-Leach 8 1-3 17 Belinda Hunte 1 1-2 4 Naeva Rene 2 0-2 4 Serenity 0 2-2 2. Totals: 19 7-18 49.

DANBURY 10 5 7 14 — 36

NORWALK 11 11 11 16 — 49

3-pointers: D—Sus. Almeida 3, Sab. Almeida; N—Wilson 3, Hunte.