CANTON, March 7 – The Canton High girls basketball team had handled Windsor Locks pretty easily in three previous contests this season. It was nearly two weeks ago that the Warriors scored 72 points against Windsor Locks – one of the top six scoring performances in team history.
Still, Canton coach Brian Medeiros implored his team to play hard in their pregame talk. And he reminded them of a big upset that occurred Monday when No. 1 ranked Lewis Mills boys basketball team was upset by No. 32 Ansonia in overtime, 78-73, in a first round Class M tournament game.
“Their eyes got really big,” he said. “You saw the look in their faces.”
No. 3 Canton (21-3) scored the first sixteen points of the game and led 20-1 midway through the second quarter as the defending Class S champion Warriors rolled into semifinals for the third consecutive year with a 54-25 win over Windsor Locks Tuesday night.
It was the second game of a CIAC Class S doubleheader at the high school. The Canton boys basketball team opened play in the Class S tournament with a 55-27 win over St. Bernard of Uncasville in the opener.
The Canton girls will play No. 2 Housatonic Regional-Falls Village (23-3) on Friday at 7 p.m. at Simsbury High for the right to play in the state title game. The Mountaineers beat No. 26 Weaver-Hartford on Tuesday, 60-48.
All-State forward Emily Briggs led the Warriors with a game-high 25 points and eight steals while Abbe Skinner added 13 points. Freshman guard Abby Charron had six points and six steals while sophomore center Sarah Bowman scored seven points, pulled down nine rebounds and had three blocks – all within a two minute span in the third quarter.
“I’m excited for the girls,” Medeiros said. “In December, we were struggling. We had a meeting of the minds and we got the win against Kolbe Cathedral. We needed a low point to rise from. They’ve had to work for this. It hasn’t come easy.”
Canton lost two of their first four games of the season to Suffield before they beat Kolbe by five points. That sparked a 14-game winning streak and ended with a two-point loss to East Windsor in the final game of the regular season. And the Panthers gave Canton another defeat in the semifinals of the NCCC Tournament.
“They’ve really grown which makes this so enjoyable,” Medeiros said. “We had to learn how to play in close games and make winning plays down the stretch.”
There wasn’t much drama in this contest. Windsor Locks (13-11) tried to run time off the clock by holding the ball. But Canton’s defense was too much as the Warriors led 12-0 after one quarter.
Skinner and Charron each had baskets off rebounds in the lane, Briggs hit a jumper at the top of the key and Briggs had a nice interception and drove right to the basket for two points.
Canton led 20-1 midway through the second quarter and 28-10 at halftime. Briggs had some great plays in the lane in the second half. Bowman played well inside, especially defensively. Canton had a 20-8 run in the second half with Briggs scoring 14 points in the run.
It’s the second time in team history that Canton has played in three straight semifinal games. The Warriors first achieved that feat from 1997-99, going to the final in 1999 and losing to St. Paul. … It was the first CIAC tournament game between the two schools since 1995, which Canton won. … In the other semifinal match, No. 5 Thomaston will face No. 16 Sacred Heart on Friday at 7 p.m. at Kennedy High in Waterbury. … The team record for most points in a game is 76 against Terryville in 1986. The Warriors have scored 73 twice and 72 points four times.
Canton 54, Windsor Locks 25
Windsor Locks (25) Hannah Farr 0-0-0, Sophie Morcella 0-0-0, Raelynn Voislow 2-1-7, Mercedes Davis 0-0-0, Rebecca Foster 1-0-3, Abby Pelletier 3-0-9, Megan Quinn 1-1-3, Sofie Oliviera 1-0-3, Sara Bycenski 0-0-0. Totals 8-3-25
Canton (54) Abbe Skinner 6-0-13, Morgan Walzak 0-0-0, Belle Magna 0-0-0, Gabbie Schinkel 1-1-3, Abby Charron 2-2-6, Lauren Puliulli 0-0-0, Alison Celmar 0-0-0, Maggie First 0-0-0, Emily Briggs 11-3-25, Grace Treacy 0-0-0, Leah Eschenbrenner 0-0-0, Lauren Eschenbrenner 0-0-0, Ali Delsanto 0-0-0, Courtney LeFave 0-0-0, Sarah Bowman 3-1-7. Totals 23-7-54
Windsor Locks (13-11) 0 10 9 6 — 25
Canton (21-3) 12 16 13 13 — 54
Three-point goals: Skinner (C), Voislow (W), Foster (W), Pelletier (W) 3, Oliviera (W)