FARMINGTON, Feb. 12 – The Canton High girls basketball team has played in the last three Class S championship games. They’ve won the last two. Head coach Brian Medeiros knows he needs to challenge his players.
On Monday night, the Warriors took on Farmington, ranked No. 11 in the latest GameTime CT top 10 girls basketball state poll. The Indians were coming off an emotional overtime win over Simsbury on Friday to win the CCC West Patriot Division championship.
Farmington led Canton by 11 points after one period and at halftime. Canton (16-4) surged in the fourth quarter and made a game of it before falling to the Indians, 50-49. The Warriors had two opportunities in the final 30 seconds to take the lead but the Indians survived.
Farmington led by eight points, 48-40 with 2:52 remaining before Canton rallied. Senior guard Belle Magna hit a three-point shot with 2:31 remaining to cut the lead to five points – the closest that the Warriors had been since the opening minutes of the game.
With 1:51 left in the game, Magna drained a free throw and with 1:42 remaining, Lauren Puglielli sank two free throws after a technical foul to cut the lead to two points, 48-46.
Farmington’s Isabelle Lipinski scored with 1:17 left to push the lead back to four but sophomore guard Abby Charron sank a pair of free throws with 46.8 seconds to cut the lead to two, 50-48. Charron’s free throw with 28.9 seconds cut the lead to one but the Indians hung on to get the win.
“In the second half, we did a great job of contesting shots and rebounding the basketball,” Medeiros said. “That led to success on the offensive end, it was a total team effort.”
Charron led the Warriors with 16 points while Magna added 10. For Farmington (17-3), Izzy Lipinski led the way with a game-high 22 points while Emma Novajaski added 15 points.
“I was really happy with how we competed,” Medeiros said. “We had to play almost perfect after we got down as much as we did and to the girls credit, they almost did. We had a couple of chances in the final 20 seconds that didn’t work out for us.”
Farmington got off to a rousing start, scoring the first 12 points of the game and taking a 16-2 lead. Canton scored just two points in the first five minutes of the game. Baskets from Paige Brown and Gabby Schinkel in the final 1:31 of the first quarter cut the Farmington lead to 11 points, 20-9.
“They are definitely talented and they have great size and length,” Medeiros said. “I think we almost gave them too much respect.”
The Indians stretched the lead to 16 points late in the second quarter before Lauren Puglielli hit a three-point shot with 43 seconds left and Maggie First hit a shot at the buzzer to slice the Farmington lead to 11 points at halftime, 33-22.
Charron had six points in the third quarter including a basket with 56 seconds remaining as Canton cut the lead to nine points, 40-31.
“Our kids off the bench gave us a spark,” Medeiros said. “Gabbie Schinkel, Maggie First did a nice job for us. Abby Charron got going and then we started to build a little confidence.”
It was the first game between the former long-time rivals since 2002-03 when the Indians won, 49-20. The two teams used to play together in the Northwest Conference through 1982. Farmington High coach Keith Garbart coached Canton for two seasons in 2002 and 2003.
The Warriors return to action on Friday in the quarterfinals of the NCCC Tournament at home beginning at 7 p.m., hosting Rockville.
Farmington 50, Canton 49
Canton (49): Belle Magna 4 1 10, Lauren Puglielli 3 2 10, Allison Celmer 1 0 2, Morgan Walzak 1 0 3, Gabrielle Schinkel 1 0 2, Paige Brown 1 0 2, Maggy First 1 2 4, Abby Charron 6 4 16. Totals 18 9 49
Farmington (50): Izzy Lipinski 10 2 22, Carolyn Ives 3 0 7, Emma Novajaski 7 0 15, Molly McGuigan 1 0 2, Chardae Saunders 1 0 2, Amanda Rodrigues 1 0 2. Totals 23 2 50
Canton (16-4) 9 13 10 17 — 49
Farmington (17-3) 20 13 7 10 – 50
Three-point goals: Magna (Ca), Puglielli (Ca) 2, Walzak (Ca), Ives (F), Novajaski (F)
Bill Brewster contributed to this story.