GRANBY, January 31 – Adversity hasn’t bothered the two-time defending Class S champion Canton High girls basketball team this winter.
The Warriors began the season with two starters – junior center Sarah Bowman and sophomore guard Abby Charron – on the bench due to injuries. Charron returned after about four weeks and Bowman is still out, healing and awaiting her first opportunity to play.
Taking inspiration from the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, the Warriors have simply gotten the job done. “In true Patriots fashion, the next person up has become the theme and the girls have responded,” Canton High coach Brian Medeiros said. “Each night, we have different girls making plays on both sides of the ball. I truly believe that has been the major reason for our success.”
Trailing by four points with just four minutes remaining, Canton outscored Granby 10-2 in the final minutes to beat the Bears Wednesday night and clinched their first outright league championship since 1999 with a 46-42 North Central Connecticut Conference victory.
Charron (11 points) and Allison Celmer (four points) made key free throws in the final minutes to give Canton (14-3, 14-0 NCCC) the victory and the league title.
Canton’s most recent league title came in 2015 when the Warriors shared the pennant with Avon. The last time Canton won the title outright was in 1999. It’s the fifth NCCC title in school history for the Warriors.
As it has been all season, the Warriors received a balanced effort. Paige Brown had 11 points while Belle Magna scored eight points and pulled down eight rebounds while Lauren Eschenbrenner added six points.
“Granby ran by us and they were quicker to the ball for large portions of the game,” Medeiros said. “But in typical fashion, we made plays on both sides of the ball when we really needed it.”
Canton led by six points, 12-6, after one period and led by as many as eight points, 18-10 in the second half before the Bears roared back to tie the game. Canton had a six-point lead at halftime but Granby played well in the third quarter.
“We were lucky to be tied at 31-31 going into the fourth quarter,” he said.
But when it had to get done, the Warriors made the plays. Brown scored seven of her 11 points in the fourth quarter and the Warriors sank 8-of-10 free throws in the fourth quarter. They had only seven turnovers in the game.
“Tonight wasn’t our greatest performance and a lot of that has to do with Granby and I give them a ton of credit,” Medieros said. “But the sign of a good team is to gut out victories like this.
“We did a great job of closing (out) the game – rebounding, squeezing the orange (taking care of the ball) and making our free throws,” he said.
Canton has three games to conclude the regular season. They close out the NCCC portion of their campaign with a game at Somers on Friday night at 7 p.m. and a date at East Granby on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Canton’s final regular season will be a challenging contest at No. 11 Farmington (13-2) on Monday, February 12.
NOTE: Canton’s previous NCCC championships came in 2015 (shared with Avon), 1999, 1998 and 1993 (sharing with Ellington and Somers). As Collinsville High, the Warriors did win the Farmington Valley League championship in 1922. The school didn’t become Canton High until 1933 when they moved into the high school on Dyer Avenue.
Canton 46, Granby 42
Granby (42) Jalyn Brown 2 5 9, Maddee McGee 5 2-2 16, Alyssa Tweeddale 0 0 0, Samantha St. Pierre 1 2-4 4, McKenzie Pederson 6 1-1 13 Totals 14 10-17 42
Canton (46) Belle Magna 3 2-4 8, Abby Charron 3 4-6 11, Allison Celmer 1 2-2 4, Grace Treacy 1 0-0 3, Lauren Eschenbrenner 2 2-2 6, Paige Brown 5 0-0 11, Gabble Schinkel 0-0-0, Maggie First 0-0-0, Lauren Puglielli 2 0-0 4, Morgan Walzak 0-0-0, Allie Delsanto 0 1-2 1, Courtney Lefave 0-0-0, Maeve Balavender 0-0-0. Team Totals: 14 11-16 46
Granby (10-5) 6 14 11 11 — 42
Canton (14-3) 12 14 6 14 — 46
Three-point goals: McGee (G) 4, Charron (Ca), Treacy (Ca), Brown (Ca)
x-clinched league championship