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Class L state tournament: Centaurs fall to Windsor in 2nd-round game

There were plenty of hugs and tears but also a lot of smiles after the final buzzer of the season sounded on Friday at the Alumni Fieldhouse.

The Woodstock Academy girls basketball season had come to a close as the seventh-seeded Centaurs fell short to No. 10 Windsor, 59-39, in a Class L state tournament second-round game.

“This season has been amazing,” said senior Reegan Reynolds. “I could not have imagined going through senior year with any girls other than these. I know our coach (Will Fleeton) talks a lot about family, it’s right on our warm up jerseys, and I think that is the most important thing to me. That’s what is truly remarkable about this team. We are a family, we don’t just say that, we’re all best friends in and outside of school and I know this group of girls is going to do some special things in the future.”

Reynolds and Kerry Blais will be the only players who graduate from the Centaurs who finished 15-7 on the season.

“I’m happy with the growth and development of the players within the program, learning the system, executing, those types of things. I think if we do the things that we want to do or we know how to do, I’m always happy and satisfied with that. In most cases, those things took care of things and gave us the success we had this season,” Fleeton said.

It was also a season of growth as the freshmen players a year ago, like Kaylee Saucier, Isabel D’Alleva-Bochain, Vivian Bibeau and Sidney Anderson, were now solid sophomores.

“I think we got better every minute of every day in some type of way. I think this was a high-character, tight-knit group that truly cared about each other. They pushed each other positively daily and we got results daily,” Fleeton said.

Unfortunately for Woodstock Academy, it ran into a hot team.

Windsor started the season 1-4 but when transfer student Kamaria Bowens came aboard, the fortunes of the Warriors (19-7) changed.

She helped stabilize a team that already included a Division I-level talent in senior Ayanna Franks who averaged nearly 30 points a game this season and committed to play for the University of Rhode Island in November.

The Warriors had won their last 10 games including the Central Connecticut Conference tournament championship but their slow start left them as a very dangerous tenth seed coming into the Alumni Fieldhouse.

The Centaurs hung tough early.

They held the high-scoring Franks, who has scored over 2,000 points in her high school career, to just four first quarter points and Windsor owned only a 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Warriors did extend the lead to double-digits midway through the second quarter but Saucier scored all five of her points and Bibeau, who finished with 10 points, added a 3-pointer with 24 seconds left to cut the deficit to eight, 23-15, at halftime.

“We went into the locker room and were proud of what we were doing, the energy was high and we were playing really well. They made some tough buckets, props to them, but that first half was good for us,” Reynolds said.

The third quarter, however, belonged to Windsor.

The Warriors scored the first seven points and outscored the Centaurs, 20-6, over the eight minutes.

“I think they changed a few things up in the locker room and we changed a few things to deal with them but they are a good team,” Reynolds said.

The Centaurs weren’t done yet.

Despite trailing by 22 going into the fourth quarter, there was a spark to be had.

D’Alleva-Bochain got hot early and scored all 10 of her points in the first 2 ½ minutes of the fourth quarter to help Woodstock Academy pull within 13, 47-34, with 5 minutes, 16 seconds to play.

“I think that definitely brought a spark to us which (D’Alleva-Bochain) tends to do. I think that’s a great thing about our team, depending on the night, somebody will have a spark and we will be right back in it and that is what happened there,” Reynolds said.

Windsor, however, was able to extinguish that spark.

The Warriors held the Centaurs scoreless until just under a minute was left to play in the quarter while scoring 10 points of their own to put the win away.

Franks was held to only 10 points but Bowens finished with 16, Mikaela Williams added 11 and Tyler Welsh also contributed 10 for Windsor.

It meant that, for Reynolds and Blais, the season and high school career had come to an end.

“I’ve been playing basketball longer than any other sport, it’s what I grew up playing. I stuck with it and will definitely be the one I will miss the most because I grew up playing it. It was good spending the last moments of my high school career on the court. It was very special,” Reynolds said.