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Composed Canton beats Ellington for first time since 2000

CANTON, Jan. 25 – The Ellington High girls basketball team had just extended its lead over Canton to five points late in the third quarter Friday night in Canton. But the Warriors didn’t panic. They kept playing. Less than a half minute later, Canton’s Sarah Getz scored off an inbounds play to cut the Ellington lead back to three points.

Just another close game for the Warriors. “We’ve been in so many close games, they just play,” Canton coach Jeanne Holian said. “They don’t show any emotion or excitement.”

Perhaps it’s due to the limited size of the varsity team. With only six players who regularly see action, the Warriors can’t waste their energy on celebrations. They need it all for the game. The remainder of the bench is freshmen and sophomores.

Canton forced two turnovers and hit four of six foul shots in the final two minutes to earn a thrilling 48-45 win over Ellington – the first Canton victory over the Knights since 2000.

“It’s like a blur to me,” Holian said. “In the last three minutes, it was our defense. We had some key rebounds, too.”

Tied at 42-42 with 2:40 remaining, Megan Roux stole the ball and fed Sarah Bendetti, who was fouled. She hit one of two shots. With about a minute left, Ellington’s Kelly Conley drove to the basket, scored and was fouled. She sank the foul shot for a two-point Knight lead, 45-43.

Getz responded almost immediate with a jumper to tie the game again. On Canton’s next possession, Danielle Coutu was fouled. She sank the first foul shot but the second bounced off the rim and was on the way out of bounds. Benedetti reached over, tapped the ball back into play to Getz, who was fouled. She sank two foul shots for a 48-45 lead.

Benedetti finished with a game-high 24 points and 22 rebounds. Getz, who finished with 12 points and nine rebounds, was eager to take a shot with the game on the line. That’s the kind of initiative the Warriors need since Benedetti will be sure to attract heavy defensive attention for the rest of the year.

Benedetti had 31 points and 16 rebounds earlier in the week as the Warriors beat Granby, 58-46. Coutu added 13 while Roux scored eight points. Canton got out to a big lead early as Benedetti hit her first three shots, including a pair of three-point goals, and four of her first six. Canton led 36-14 at halftime.

The schedule down the stretch won’t be easy. Canton have three games next week against teams with winning records. They host East Granby on Tuesday and Coventry on Thursday before traveling to Bolton, which finished this week at 11-0, for a game on Saturday, Feb. 6.

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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