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Canton holds off Berlin to remain undefeated, capture Holiday Festival

Lauren Puglielli (5) had 10 points in Canton’s win over Suffield in the first round of the Canton Holiday Festival on Thursday. (Photo courtesy Paul Amrose)

CANTON, December 28 – Canton High girls basketball coach Brian Medeiros loves to test his team during the regular season. The sixth-year coach regularly challenges this team with competitive contests.

The Warriors were challenged on Friday in the final game of the fourth annual Canton Holiday Festival and they responded. Canton had a 16-point lead against undefeated Berlin that had dwindled to three points with under two minutes remaining.

But Allison Celmer scored on a layup to extend the lead to five points and 6-foot-3 center Sarah Bowman had one of her five blocks on the next Berlin possession to help lift Canton to a 41-38 victory over the Redcoats and the Holiday Festival championship.

Canton (7-0, 5-0 NCCC) has won their first seven games of the season.

“Our team defense was awesome all night,” Medeiros said. “To hold a team like Berlin (7-1) to 38 points is no small feat. They have two very good players in Lyzi (Litwinko) and Ashley (Wenzel) and our girls did a great job of limiting them.”

Litwinko and Wenzel had 10 points each for the Redcoats, who scored a season-low 38 points.

“Allison Celmer, Paige Brown, Grace Treacy, and Morgan Walzak contested their drives and shots all night long,” Medeiros said. “Sarah Bowman was tremendous on the back end altering shots and rebounding the basketball.”

Abby Charron led the Warriors with 12 points and had five assists with Brown scoring nine. Bowman scored four but had 10 rebounds and blocked five shots. Treacy pulled down six rebounds.

“The Berlin game was our toughest challenge to date,” Medeiros said. “Our defensive effort led the charge as we raced out of the gate for a 14-7 lead.”

Abby Charron had 12 points and five assists in Canton’s win over Berlin on Friday to remain undefeated. (Photo courtesy Paul Amrose)

Solid defense and good ball movement enabled Canton to grab a 23-12 lead at halftime. The lead swelled to 16 points, 30-14 in the third quarter. But when Charron picked up her fourth foul and had to spend some time on the bench, Berlin began to rally.

The Redcoats cut the lead to three points, 39-36 but Canton stood firm.

“Thankfully, we found Allison Celmer on a back door layup out of our delay game with under 50 seconds to go, to put us up 41-36,” Medeiros said. “Sarah Bowman had one of her 5 blocks on the ensuing possession to close the door on Berlin’s comeback hopes.”

Five teams played six games over a two-day period in the Canton Holiday Festival. The Warriors took home the championship with a pair of victories.

On the first night of the tournament, Canton beat conference rival Suffield, 44-23 with Charron leading with 14 points and Lauren Puglielli adding 10. Celmer pulled down a team-high 12 rebounds and scored four points. Bowman had five points and four blocks for the Warriors.

Berlin, St. Joseph-Trumbull, Middletown and Suffield each went 1-1 in the round-robin tournament.

Canton returns to action this week with back-to-back games. The Warriors visit Coventry on Friday night before coming home to host Notre Dame-Fairfield on Saturday, January 5 at 1 p.m. at CHS.

Alexandra DelSanto (30) brings up the ball against Suffield in the Canton Holiday Festival. (Photo courtesy Paul Amrose)

Canton 41 Berlin 38
At Canton
Canton (41) Abby Charron 4 3-5 12; Lauren Eschenbrenner 1 2-3 4; Sarah Bowman 2 0-0 4; Allison Celmer 2 0-4 4; Grace Treacy 1 0-0 3; Gabbie Schinkel 0 1-2 1; Paige Brown 4 1-2 9; Lauren Puglielli 1 0-0 2; Morgan Walzak 1 0-0 2; Allie DelSanto 0-0-0; Claudia Boehm 0-0-0; Jenna Cuniowski 0-0-0; Camille Kashning 0-0-0; Sophia Stamos 0-0-0; Totals: 16 7-16 41
Berlin (38) Lyzi Litwinko 4 2-4 10; Ashley Wenzel 4 2-3 10; Wynter Ativan 0 1-2 1; Angela Perrelli 3 0-0 9; Carly Grega 4 0-0 8; Totals: 14 5-9 38
Canton (7-0)      14  9  8  10 – 41
Berlin (7-1)        7  5  12  14 – 38
Three-point goals: Charron (Ca), Treacy (Ca), Perrelli (B) 3

Canton 44 Suffield 23
At Canton
Canton (44): Abby Charron 6 1-2 14 ; Lauren Eschenbrenner 2 0-0 5; Sarah Bowman 2 1-2 5; Allison Celmer 2 0-1 4; Grace Treacy 0-0-0; Gabbie Schinkel 1 0-2 2; Paige Brown 1 0-0 2; Lauren Puglielli 4 0-0 10; Morgan Walzak 1 0-1 2; Allie DelSanto 0 1-2 1; Claudia Boehm 0-0-0; Jenna Cuniowski 0-0-0; Camille Kashning 0-0-0; Sophia Stamos 0-0-0; Totals: 19 2-8 44
Suffield (23): Bella Plano 0-0-0; Mac Sullivan 3 1-1 7; Paige Anderson 2 0-2 4; Hailee Mailloux 1 0-2 2; Aua Mills 2 0-2 4; Carly Matthews 1 0-0 2; Taylor Webber 1 0-0 2; Maddie Dunnigan 1 0-0 2; Totals: 11 1-7 23
Canton (6-0)      17  8  16  3  — 44
Suffield (3-2)      8  2  9  4  — 23
Three-point goals: Charron (Ca), Eschenbrenner (Ca), Puglielli (Ca) 2

2019 Canton Holiday Festival
Canton 41, Berlin 38
Canton 44, Suffield 23
Berlin 53, St. Joseph 43
St. Joseph 62, Middletown 49
Middletown 57, Tolland 24
Suffield 44, Tolland 28
Final results: Canton 2-0, Berlin 1-1, St. Joseph 1-1, Middletown 1-1, Suffield 1-1, Tolland 0-2

Previous Canton Holiday Festival results
2018 (round robin): 1. Farmington 2-0, Tolland 2-0, 3. Avon 1-1 (beat Canton); 4. Canton 1-1, 5. Lewis Mills 0-2
2017 (round robin): 1. Hall 2-0, 2. Suffield 1-1 (beat Canton, 47-38), 3. Canton 1-1, 4. Tolland 0-2
2016: Final: Canton 69, Hall 57; Third place: Tolland 61, Granby 20
Canton 2-0, Hall 1-1, Tolland 1-1, Granby 0-2

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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