New Fairfield girls outlast Seymour to advance to Class M quarterfinals
NEW FAIRFIELD — This is kind of what New Fairfield coach Brendan Moore has come to expect.
While he didn’t feel that the Rebels had their best game of the season by any stretch, Moore wasn’t the least bit surprised when his senior-laden squad turned it on when it counted to rally for a 52-45 victory against visiting Seymour Friday night.
“With any type of tournament, it’s just survive and move on,” Moore said. “We’re not happy with how we played 75 percent of that game, but you’ve got to give it to our players for finding a way.”
With the win over the No. 13-seeded Wildcats, the fourth-seeded Rebels advanced to Thursday’s Class M quarterfinals when they will play host to fifth-seeded Bethel.
Bethel and New Fairfield have split a pair of matchups this season with the Rebels picking up a 43-37 win in the regular season on Feb. 7 and Bethel scoring a 44-37 victory in the SWC Championship on Feb. 22
“It’s going to be a really exciting game and it’s going to be fun to play them again because it’s always a good game when we play them,” New Fairfield’s Sydney Gouveia said.
Gouveia seemingly wasn’t going to let anyone else come down with a key rebound after her teammate missed a 3-pointer midway through the third quarter. The senior forward immediately put the ball back up for a bucket, got fouled and made the ensuing free throw.
That 3-point play halted a 6-0 run by the Wildcats and trimmed their lead to 26-24.
“My coach always says that I’m the rim-runner, so I have to get the rebounds and either kick it out or put it up,” Gouveia said. “I was just doing my job. Got the rebound and put it right back up. The energy from that shot went through everyone and really got us going.”
New Fairfield took the lead for good when Kristen Teklits went 2-for-2 from the foul line for her team’s first points of the fourth quarter that made the score 35-33.
The Rebels were on point from the stripe down the stretch, making all 12 attempts in the final stanza.
“In practice, we do foul shooting non-stop,” Teklits said. “It definitely helps in certain situations. Everyone’s eyes are on you. You’ve got to take a deep breath and just knock down the shot.”
New Fairfield scored the first seven points of the contest on a pair of jump shots by Rachael Cammarano and Leah Anderson and a 3-pointer from Teklits.
Seymour (16-6) answered back with a 7-1 run to close the opening quarter, a stretch that saw Samantha Diorio-Torres hit a finger roll, Sydney Drezek knock down a trey and Faith Thurmond score on a beautiful reverse layup.
“That’s a very good New Fairfield team,” Seymour coach Brian Cleveland said. “I think that people don’t know that we have a good Seymour team. I have a lot of respect for that team; I just hope that our program won some respect, with not only tonight, but with the season this year.”
A wild end of the third quarter saw Telkits sink a clutch 3-pointer with six seconds remaining and Drezek get fouled from 3-point land as time expired and subsequently go 2-for-3 from the foul line, cutting the Rebels’ lead to 33-30 going into the fourth.
Drezek would bury a game-tying 3-pointer for the first points of the fourth quarter.
“This is a very special group that’s always going to have a piece of my heart,” Cleveland said. “It’s been a long four-year road and even before that working with them. I wish them the best of luck with what’s coming after high school, and I’m obviously going to thank them for their four years and everything they gave to the program.”
Another 3-pointer by Telkits with 3:11 remaining in the game boosted New Fairfield’s (19-3) lead to 42-35, and deadly-accurate free throw shooting in the waning minutes sealed the win.
“Starting five seniors, we’ve kind of come to expect that out of a group that’s this experienced,” Moore said.
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NEW FAIRFIELD 52, SEYMOUR 45
Sam Torres 2 3-8 7; Sydnie Drezek 2 8-9 14; Megan Condo 0 2-3 2; Caty Ragaini 0 0-0 0; Grace Hayes 1 0-0 2; Tori Kellogg 2 4-6 10; Faith Thurmond 4 2-5 10. Totals: 11 19-31 45.
NEW FAIRFIELD (19-3)
Pam Sbarra 0 0-2 0; Leah Anderson 1 2-2 4; Sydney Gouveia 7 2-3 16; Kristen Teklits 5 12- 14 26; Rachael Cammaron 2 0-0 4; Kelly LaRegina 0 0-0 0; Allison Teklits 0 1-2 1; Kerrigan Quinn 0 1-2 1. Totals: 15 18-25 52.
SEYMOUR 9 11 10 15—45
NEW FAIRFIELD 10 8 15 19—52
3-pointers: S—Drezek 2, Kellogg 2; NF—K. Teklits 4.