CANTON, January 28 – The Canton High girls basketball continues to gain confidence and it showed in a dominating 56-30 non-league victory over a young Avon High squad in a Saturday afternoon matinee at the high school.
The Warriors (12-2, 9-2 NCCC) may be the defending Class S state champions but they aren’t the same team that celebrated on the floor of the Mohegan Sun Arena last March. All-State forward Emily Briggs returned but the rest of the team has had to adjust to new roles and responsibilities.
It was Canton’s first win over the Falcons since 2010 and just their second victory over the Falcons in the last 18 years.
Canton shook off a sluggish first quarter performance to take command of the contest in the second quarter. Briggs led all scorers with a game-high 24 points while Abbe Skinner added 13 points. Freshman guard Abby Charron scored six and had six assists while sophomore Sarah Bowman had four points, six rebounds and two blocks.
“We’re playing a lot better basketball than we did earlier in the year,” Canton coach Brian Medeiros said. “We’re building confidence. They’re all finding their way, their role. It started with the Kolbe game (a 59-54 win on Dec. 30 in Ansonia). We were forced to do more and now the kids are playing better.”
The improved play of Charron at point guard has helped stabilize the Warrior offense and give Canton another offensive threat. “She has been a key,” Medeiros said. “She controls the offense and doesn’t turn the ball over. She is a scoring threat and that has helped the team.”
Charron had six points against Avon but has twice scored 12 points against Granby and had 10 points against SMSA.
The defense did their job, too. Canton, which has won nine straight games, allowed just six field goals in the game. They had 25 steals and six blocks.
“We had more offensive weapons than they did, which is a change from year’s past,” Medeiros said.
Avon (1-10) is a young team rebuilding. At several points in the game, there were three Falcon freshmen in the lineup. “The big thing is that this is a process,” Avon’s first-year coach Jamaal Lee said. “We’re growing as a team. It’s not what I say but what my captains and my seniors say. They believe in the process and the young kids.”
Avon’s leading scorer was freshman Abby St. Onge, who had a nine points. She had a season-high 12 points on Friday in a 53-35 loss to Weaver. On Saturday, freshman guard Kendra Hards came off the bench and scored four points.
In the first quarter, Avon rebounded the ball well and only allowed eight points. The Falcons trailed 4-3 with 1:22 left in the quarter. Canton’s Lauren Eschenbrenner made a steal and drove to the basket for a layup and then Charron intercepted an Avon pass and fed Abbe Skinner for an easy basket with a second left in the quarter for an 8-3 Canton lead.
“Defensively, we started to get to good spots,” Lee said. “We’re beginning to understand the proper defensive spots. I was happy with our defensive effort.”
The Saturday afternoon contest began at 1 p.m. and drew a strong crowd that filled up two sections of bleachers. “It’s a great game for both communities,” Medeiros said.
Despite Avon’s move to the CCC in September 2015, the two programs continue play one game a year against each other. Medeiros would like to see that continue.
Canton returns to the floor on Tuesday when they travel to Ellington for a NCCC contest. Avon has back-to-back games at home on Monday against Glastonbury and on Tuesday against Northwest Catholic.
NOTES: Avon owns a 48-31 edge in the series dating back to 1974. The 26-point margin of victory was the largest by Canton since winning by 29 points in 1988. Avon once beat Canton by 59 points in 2006 with an 85-26 victory. … Prior to beating Avon in 2010, the Warriors last beat Avon in 1999.
Canton 56, Avon 30
Avon (30) Sophie Begleiter 0-0-0, Sophie Aguilar 0-5-5, Martha Galliher 0-0-0, Carly Carpino 0-2-2, Abby St. Onge 1-6-9, Taylor Aiello 2-0-6, Olivia Donahue 1-0-2, Yasmeen Eldah 0-0-0, Heather McGuire 0-0-0, Kendra Hards 2-0-4. Totals 6-13-30
Canton (56) Abbe Skinner 4-4-13, Belle Magna 2-0-4, Gabby Schinkel 0-0-0, Abby Charron 3-0-6, Lauren Pugliulli 1-0-2, Emily Briggs 7-8-24, Leah Eschenbrenner 0-0-0, Lauren Eschenbrenner 1-0-2, Allie DelSanto 0-0-0, Sarah Bowman 2-0-4. Totals 19-14-56
Avon (1-11) 3 11 7 9 – 30
Canton (12-2) 8 20 25 11 — 56
Three-point goals: St. Onge (A), Aiello (A) 2; Skinner (C)