LITCHFIELD, March 4 — Everyone had a hand in Wamogo’s thrilling 48-46 victory over Canton in the second round of the Class S girls basketball tournament Thursday night.
Sophomore Caycee Williams had a game-high 19 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Morgan Grambo scored six points early in the third quarter and played solid defense on Canton’s All-State guard Sarah Bendetti, who had just 17 points – a far cry from her school-record 44 points in a tournament game earlier this week.
Paige LaBonne (11 points) hit some huge jumpers to keep Wamogo in the game and Kerri Stolle was all over the floor with nine points, eight rebounds and a team-high four steals and four assists.
No. 6 Wamogo (21-3) won their fifth straight game and for the 14th time in the last 15 games. Defense was the cornerstone of this victory. Grambo had solid position in the low post for most of the game, forcing Benedetti to throw up some awkward shots. And the shots that she missed, Wamogo rebounded.
“That is our theme,” Wamogo coach Kevin Crowley said. “One (shot) and done. We had a huge height advantage.”Benedetti did drain three 3-point shots but she wasn’t able to drive to the basket very often.
Wamogo used its height and sharp passing to race out to a 12-3 lead but for a six-minute span, Wamogo wilted under Canton’s frenzied pressure defense in the first half. Canton used an 18-0 run to take a nine-point lead with 5:04 left in the second quarter.
But Wamogo settled down and outscored Canton, 9-2 to cut the lead to two at halftime, 23-21.
“We got too confident and we began rushing things,” Stolle said. “We just had to slow it down.” Crowley said Wamogo’s recovery began with their defense. “Once we got some stops, it allowed us to relax offensively,” he said. Williams scored six of Wamogo’s final nine points of the half.
Canton (16-7) led by as much as six in the third quarter but Wamogo didn’t panic. Williams sank her own rebound and LaBonne hit a jumper with six seconds remaining to tie the score at 35 after three quarters.
The game was tied three times in the fourth quarter. Megan Roux’s drive to the basket with 1:03 left gave Canton its first lead of the fourth quarter, 44-43. But Williams hit two fouls shots with 42 seconds left and when Benedetti was double teamed in the lane with 28 seconds remaining, she turned the ball over.
Stolle added another two foul shots with 26 seconds left for a 47-44 lead and teammate Megan Layman added another foul shot with 12 seconds left for a 48-44 lead. Benedetti drove to the basket with five seconds left to cut the lead to two, 48-46.
Wamogo 48, Canton 46
Canton (16-7) Sarah Getz 5-0-13, Danielle Coutu 1-0-2, Lucy Mentzer 0-0-0, Sarah Benedetti 6-2-17, Amanda Curvino 1-0-3. Totals 17-5-46
Wamogo (21-3) Sam Finch 0-0-0, Megan Murray 0-0-0, Paige LaBonne 5-1-11, Megan Layman 1-1-3, Kerri Stolle 3-2-9, Caycee Williams 8-3-19, Morgan Grambo 3-0-6. Totals 20-7-48
Halftime: Canton 23-21
Three-point goals: Getz (C) 3, Benedetti (C) 3, Stolle (W) 1