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RHAM runs away from Farmington to win first state title in basketball

Farmington’s Isabelle Lipinski drives to the basket in Sunday’s Class L championship game at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

UNCASVILLE, Conn., March 18 – The Farmington High girls basketball team had already faced RHAM once this year and lost by 17 points. Indian head coach Keith Garbart thought he would force the Sachems to shoot from the outside in Sunday’s Class L championship game.

His plan worked – to a point. RHAM put up 25 three-point shots and sank 10 of them as the Sachems pulled away from Farmington to win their first-ever state championship in girls basketball with a dominating 58-35 victory Sunday at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

Farmington (21-5) was within six points of the Sachems after Rylee Fountain scored on a layup with 2:16 left in the first half. But RHAM’s Jaclyn Santella hit a three-pointer with 1:38 left and Marisa Lee pulled down an offensive rebound and put it back up and into the basket with 48 seconds left to give RHAM a 29-18 lead at halftime.

The third quarter was all RHAM. The Sachems scored the first 21 points of the quarter to seize control of the contest, taking a 23-point lead, 53-20.

“I knew something was up at halftime,” RHAM coach Keith Moyer said. “We told the kids to sit down and relax. They wouldn’t sit down. They just wanted to get back out here and go.”

RHAM’s Katie Shea (23) blocks a shot from Farmington’s Molly McGuigan in Sunday’s Class L championship game.

Santella led the Sachems (26-2) with a game-high 20 points while Gretchen Kron had 14 points. Liz Baroncini had 11 points for RHAM, which had 14 steals and scored 33 points off Farmington turnovers.

“We were energized at the start and (RHAM) played their game and took it to us,” Farmington coach Keith Garbart said. “We gave it all we could.”

Garbart had his Indians played a tight zone defense, daring the Sachems to shoot from the outside. “We took 17 three-point shots in the first half,” Moyer said. “We don’t do that in two games.”

Top-seeded RHAM held Farmington to 28.9 percent shooting.

“They wanted to play hard,” Moyer said. “Our theme was to play hard and attack – attack on offense and attack on defense. These girls love to play man-to-man defense. They just played their hearts out.”

The Farmington High girls basketball team shares the second place trophy with their classmates after Sunday’s Class L championship game.

Isabelle Lipinski, the only senior on the Farmington roster, led the Indians with 12 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. The rest of the players in the program are underclassmen.

“To be on this court with this team is unbelievable,” Garbart said. “I don’t think many people gave us a chance (to be here) at the beginning of the season. To win here is great but just to be here is special.”

No. 3 Farmington was making its third appearance in the championship game and their first since 2013 when they won the Class L title by beating Bacon Academy. The Indians beat No. 14 Capital Prep, 49-43, in the quarterfinals and slipped by No. 10 Wethersfield, 45-40 in the semifinals.

Additional photos from Sunday’s Class L championship game

RHAM 58, Farmington 35
At Uncasville, Conn.
Farmington (35) Rylee Fountain 2-4 0-0 5, Isabelle Lipinski 4-9 4-6 10, Emma Novajaski 1-6 1-6 4, Carolyn Ives 0-4 0-0 0, Molly McGuigan 0-3 1-2 1, Kaya Krupa 0-1 0-0 0, Chardae Saunders 2-8 2-4 6, Olivia Klinzamann 0-1 0-1 0, Katherine Siuta 1-1 2-2 4, Johanna Wolkoff 0-0 0-0 0, Amanda Rodriques 1-1 0-0 3, Mackenzie Collins 0-0 0-0 0, Maya Lipinski 0-0 0-0 0, Nicole Sabio 0-0 0-0 0, Paige Walsh 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 11-38, 10-21 35
RHAM (58) Lia Baroncini 3-6 3-4 11, Jaclyn Santella 6-10 3-3 20, Gretchen Kron 5-11 2-2 14, Katie Shea 0-4 1-2 1, Anna Barry 3-5 0-0 6, Marissa Colonna 0-0 0-0 0, Samantha Freeman 0-0 0-0 0, Jordan Synodi 1-3 0-2 2, Samantha Bodey 0-2 0-0 0, Marisa Lee 2-3 0-0 4, Harleigh Roach 0-2 0-0 0, Daphne Wampold 0-1 0-0 0, Julia Hancin 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-48, 9-13, 58
Farmington (21-5)                      13    5    2  15  — 35
RHAM (26-2)                              18  11  22    7  – 58
Three-point goals: Farmington 3-12 (Fountain 1-3, I. Lipinski 0-1, Novajaski 1-4, Ives 0-1, Krupa 0-1, Saunders 0-1, Rodriques 1-1), RHAM 9-25 (Baroncini 2-3, Santella 5-9, Kron 2-5, Shea 0-2, Synodi 0-1, Bodey 0-2, Roach 0-1, Wampold 0-1, Hancin 0-1)

Expanded statistics from the CIAC

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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