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Falcons respond to challenge to capture NCCC Tournament – The Collinsville Press
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Falcons respond to challenge to capture NCCC Tournament

Avon shutouts Tolland in OT

The Avon High girls basketball team outscored Tolland 12-0 in overtime to win the NCCC Tournament championship on Friday in Avon. (Photo by John Primovic)

WINDSOR LOCKS, Feb. 27 – The undefeated Avon High girls basketball team has been seeking out challenges all season. They got a good one in Friday’s NCCC Tournament championship game. In a defensive-oriented game, Tolland High forced Avon into overtime before the Falcons pulled away for a 33-21 victory.

Avon outscored Tolland, 12-0, in the extra session. Sam Riccio found a opening in the pressing Tolland defense and drained a three-pointer with 3:14 remaining to give Avon a 24-21 lead. Unable to respond, the Eagles put Avon on the foul line but the Falcons sank 8-of-9 free throws in the final 1:42 to clinch the game.

The win gives Avon (23-0) its ninth NCCC Tournament title in the last 10 years and its fourth in a row. A year ago, the Falcons survived another slugfest with Tolland in the championship game with a 34-28 victory.

Nothing was easy in this game. Avon led 15-13 at halftime and the game was tied at 19-19 after three quarters. Each team scored just two points in the fourth quarter. Avon’s lone basket came on a layup from Lindsay Horbatuck with 2:34 remaining in regulation. That answered Tolland, which took a 21-19 lead on Rachel Eichaker’s basket with 5:26 to go.

Avon held the ball for over a minute to get the final shot and Horbatuck drove into the lane for the shot but Tolland’s Kelly Schatzlein blocked the shot from behind to force OT. Schatzlein was outstanding for the Eagles, playing their final NCCC contest, with 13 points, 12 rebounds and eight blocks.

Horbatuck led the Falcons with 12 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. Riccio had nine, including her big three-pointer in OT.

The Falcons moved into the semifinals with a 68-43 victory over Coventry on Tuesday night in Avon. Lauren Primovic had a game-high 24 points including seven 3-point shots to lead the Falcons. Horbatuck added 14 points.

The league coaches announced the 2009 NCCC All-Star team at the tournament. Horbatuck, Lauren Primovic, Jenni Marcus and Ricco were Avon’s representatives on the All-NCCC team. Other all-league players were Briana Freymuth (Bolton), Sarah Marchand and Kelly Myers (Coventry), Emily Savino (Ellington), Emily Plagenza and Julie Auman (Somers), Rachel Packard (Suffield), Kelly Schatzlein and Kristin Schatzlein (Tolland) and Sara Benedetti and Megan Roux (Canton).

2009 NCCC Tournament
Championship
Avon 33, Tolland 21, OT
Consolation
Ellington 65, Coventry 54
Semifinals
Avon 68, Coventry 43
Tolland 49, Ellington 43
Quarterfinals
Avon 62, Suffield 26
Coventry 48, Somers 25
Ellington 62, Canton 44

Tolland 48, Bolton 31

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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