Woods, Perry earn MVP honors in Senior game
It was a chance, for the last time, to step on to a high school basketball court and play an organized game for the nine seniors who showed up to take part in the Putnam Rotary Club Senior All-Star girls basketball tournament game on Monday at Putnam High School.
Six Woodstock Academy girls were invited to take part and five took advantage of the invitation.
Jamie Woods, Olivia Perry, Mackenzie Cayer, Kalianna Dingui and Ciri Miller were all in attendance and since there were barely enough to make two teams, once a volunteer eighth-grader was added, the five ended up on different sides of the floor.
Woods, Miller and Cayer ended up on the Red team which bested Perry, Dingui and the rest of the Blue team, 36-30.
“There were a lot of familiar faces,” Woods said about the opposition on the other side. “It was a really fun night. We ended on a really positive note.”
Woods was named Most Valuable Player for the Red team as she contributed 16 points and four rebounds to the winning effort.
Woods and the Red team played well in the first half.
Woods put in eight points and Sydney Tetreault from Ellis Tech added six to lead the Red squad to a 19-7 lead at the half.
But Perry wasn’t about to let her team go away quietly.
Perry scored 11 points in the third quarter to help pull the Blue team back within five, 24-19, by the end of the third quarter.
“Honestly, it was a fun game playing with my teammates and some girls that I’ve known for a while in AAU and stuff. It didn’t feel like we were struggling or fighting or anything,” Perry said.
Perry added four more points early in the fourth quarter and Dingui (6 points) hit a 3-pointer to pull the Blue team to within four, 30-26, with 3:45 left.
Perry finished with 18 points and was named the Most Valuable Player for the Blue squad.
But Woods scored three of the next four baskets to put the game out of reach for the Red.
Both Woods and Perry hope to continue to play in college although neither is sure where they will be in the fall.
“I love the game. I want to play as much as I can. I don’t if it will be intramurals or Division III,” Woods said.
“I’m going to continue to play, hopefully,” Perry said with a smile.
Cayer finished with a pair of 3-pointers for the Red team while Miller was a force on the boards, hauling in nine rebounds.
Centaurs fall in quarters
It's never easy to stomach a state tournament loss.
But Centaurs girls basketball coach Will Fleeton was hardly disappointed on Friday night.
Quite the opposite, in fact.
The Academy, the sixth-seed in the Class L state tournament lost to No. 3 Farmington, but didn’t go down without a fight, 52-44, in a quarterfinal game.
“I think we played with tremendous heart,” Fleeton said. “Absorbing everything that has happened this year, throughout this whole season, I’m nothing but proud of them. I’m proud of what they displayed (Friday).”
The Centaurs were the underdog.
Farmington plays in a difficult Central Connecticut Conference and had put together a fine 17-4 season prior to the state tournament.
The Indians featured three players, Isabelle Lipinski, Chardae Saunders and Molly McGuigan, who all hovered near or above six-feet.
That length and the ability to shoot from the outside caused the Centaurs (17-7) some trouble early.
Farmington doubled up on the Centaurs in the first quarter, jumping out to an 18-9 lead after a 3-pointer by sophomore Rylee Fountain (10 points).
But the Centaurs didn’t lose sight of the Indians.
Mackenzie Cayer picked up where she left off.
The senior hit six 3-pointers against Bacon Academy in a second-round win, she hit the first of her five 3-pointers to cut Farmington’s lead to six at the end of the first.
“Big players perform in big games,” Fleeton said of Cayer’s game-high 19-point outing.” She’s showed that the past couple of weeks. She shot the ball well again (Friday) and forced them to make some adjustments to try and slow her down. For us to do that speaks to the quality of my kids.”
The Indians were able to stretch the lead again in the second quarter and led going into the locker room, 29-19.
But Fleeton was not disconcerted at the break.
“I felt we were right where we should be,” Fleeton said. “We had just found a couple of openings. Some adjustments were starting to work for us. We had a couple of good possessions going into the half. I didn’t feel too bad. I didn’t think this game was out of reach.”
The Centaurs made some more adjustments at the break as they decided to pay more attention to the 6-foot-1 Lipinski (11 points) who is the catalyst to the Indians’ offense.
“They did a really nice job of not letting us get a lot of our normal stuff inside, cross-screens and stuff like that for her. So we had to find other ways,” Farmington coach Keith Garbart said.
McGuigan picked up her game early in the second half.
The junior forward scored five of her 13 points to put the Indians up, 37-24.
“We couldn’t take anything for granted at that point,” Garbart said. “They are a senior team. They weren’t going to go easily.”
The Farmington coach was correct.
Cayer hit a pair of 3-pointers and baskets by Jamie Woods (11 points) and Heather Converse over the next 2 ½ minutes cut the deficit to five, 39-34, with 7:35 to play.
Just a little over three minutes later, Converse and Woods again hit back-to-back buckets to get the Centaurs back to within one possession, 43-40, with 4:06 left.
“I thought there was a chance. Those adjustments were having an impact on them offensively. We were closing that gap with that good stretch, but we could only get it to (three) and couldn’t get over the hump,” Fleeton said.
The Indians always had the answer.
McGuigan hit a layup to extend the lead to five, but Cayer answered with a two-point basket to reduce the lead to three, 45-42.
Freshman Emma Novajaski, who led the Indians with 14 points, then added the three biggest points of her young high school career to put the Indians up by six, 48-42, with just 1:30 left.
A Converse basket 18 seconds later made it a four-point game.
“We’re a solid team. I felt we had a chance the whole game,” Cayer said of the four-point deficit.
The Academy was forced to foul and Farmington was up to the task from the line.
Lipinski and McGuigan both hit a pair of free throws each and the Centaurs misfired on a pair of 3-pointers.
It sent the Indians back to the Class L semifinals.
It’s the first time Farmington advanced to the final four since Lipinski was a freshman in 2015.
It was the second consecutive year that the Centaurs season ended in the quarterfinals.
“It’s brutal, one word, it’s awful, but I love my team,” Cayer said.” We had a lot of good runs. We had a lot of good memories that I will never forget. I love (her teammates) to death.”
On to the quarterfinals
The Centaurs girls basketball team spent a lot of time in the locker room at halftime of their Class L state tournament second-round game against Bacon Academy Friday.
“We wanted to start the second half the same way we started the game. I told the girls that it was most important that we come out and put our foot on the gas pedal,” Centaurs coach Will Fleeton said.
The Centaurs listened.
They expanded a six-point halftime lead to 10 points by midway through the third quarter and used that momentum to score a 50-35 win over the Bobcats.
The win sends the Centaurs into their second consecutive Class L state quarterfinal game at 7 p.m. on Thursday against third-seeded Farmington at Farmington.
Read the complete story on Centaur Nation.
|The Academy||vs. Montville||Tuesday, Dec. 12; FINAL - 33-24 (W)|
|The Academy||vs. Fitch||Thursday, Dec. 14; FINAL - 74-34 (W)|
|The Academy||at RHAM (Hebron)||Saturday, Dec. 16; FINAL - 34-32 (L)|
|The Academy||vs. Plainfield||Tuesday, Dec. 19; FINAL - 63-33 (W)|
|The Academy||vs. Windsor in Centaur Classic Tournament||Wednesday, Dec. 27; FINAL - 48-40 (W)|
|The Academy||vs. E.O. Smith in Centaur Classic Tournament Championship||Friday, Dec. 29 FINAL- 55-39 (L)|
|The Academy||at Griswold||Tuesday, Jan 2; FINAL - 59-30 (W)|
|The Academy||at Norwich Free Academy||Thursday, Jan.11; FINAL 39-25 (L)|
|The Academy||vs. Killingly @ Alumni Fieldhouse||Tuesday, Jan. 9; FINAL 56-22 (W)|
|The Academy||vs. Waterford @ Alumni Fieldhouse||Friday, Jan. 12 FINAL 43-33 (W)|
|The Academy||at Stonington||Tuesday, Jan. 16 FINAL 45-43 (W)|
|The Academy||at Bacon Academy||Friday, Jan. 19 FINAL 42-40 (L)|
|The Academy||at Gilbert||Sat., Jan. 20; FINAL 65-37 (W)|
|The Academy||at Ledyard||Tuesday, Jan. 23; 42-30 (W)|
|The Academy||vs. Longmeadow (Mass.) @ Alumni Fieldhouse||Saturday, Jan. 27 FINAL 51-45 OT (W)|
|The Academy||at Montville||Monday, Jan. 29; FINAL 38-19|
|The Academy||at Killingly||Tuesday, Jan. 30 FINAL 56-35 (W)|
|The Academy||at Waterford||Friday, Feb. 2 FINAL 35-28 (L)|
|The Academy||vs. Bacon Academy at Alumni Fieldhouse||Tuesday, Feb. 6 FINAL: 44-26 (W)|
|The Academy||vs. Stonington @ Alumni Fieldhouse||Friday, Feb. 9 FINAL 40-34 (W)|
|The Academy||Eastern Connecticut Conference quarterfinal vs. Bacon Academy at Alumni Fieldhouse||Thurs., Feb. 15: FINAL 34-33 (L)|
|The Academy||vs. Killingly (CIAC Class L state tournament 1st round game)||Tues., Feb. 27 FINAL 54-31 (W)|
|The Academy||vs. Bacon Academy (CIAC Class L state tournament 2nd round)||Fri., March 2; FINAL 50-35 (W)|
|The Academy||at Farmington (CIAC Class L state tournament quarterfinal)||Friday, March 9; FINAL 52-44 (L)|
|Player Name||Games Played||Points||Average||3-pointers|