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It’s not pretty but No. 1 Canton survives against Old Lyme and advances

Canton’s Allison Celmer (22) takes off with one of her game-high steals in Tuesday’s Class S tournament 37-25 win over Old Lyme.

CANTON, March 5 – You don’t get any extra points for style in the state tournament. There is no extra credit for good effort.

It’s simple. Score more points than your opponent. Survive and advance. That’s it.

The Canton High girls basketball team has played better games. But when the ball is thrown up on Friday in the Class S semifinals, the Warriors will be on the court.

Top-ranked Canton outlasted No. 8 Old Lyme in Tuesday night’s Class S quarterfinal contest, 37-25 to earn a berth in the semifinals for the fourth time in the last five years. Canton (25-1) will face No. 28 Northwest Catholic on Friday at a site and time to be determined.

There were more turnovers than field goals in the first half when the two teams combined to make six field goals. Old Lyme made their fourth field goal of the game with 6:22 remaining in the contest.

Yet, Canton didn’t pull away. The Warriors led by six points, 21-15, after three quarters. Old Lyme cut the lead to six points, 25-19, with 4:52 left in the game before Canton was able to separate themselves from the Wildcats with an 8-2 run to take control of the contest.

With their 25th victory, the Warriors set a new single season record for most wins in a season breaking the old mark of 24 set in 1998 during a 24-2 campaign.

Abby Charron led the Warriors with 14 points and a pair of three-point shots while Lauren Escenbrenner added nine points, including a three-point shot.

Canton’s All-State guard Abby Charron (12) had a team-high 14 points in Tuesday’s win over Old Lyme.

The visiting Wildcats (18-7) were led by Emily DeRoehn, who had a game-high 15 points. She was 9-of-14 from the free throw line. Her sister, Britney DeRoehn, scored six points.

Canton led 9-5 after one quarter and 12-10 at halftime.

“Both teams were careless with the ball,” Canton coach Brian Medeiros said. “Both teams played with great energy but they never stepped back to say let’s slow down and play our style.

“It was like (because) one team was playing fast, the other team thought they had to play faster and that caused the sloppiness of the game,” he said. “(Old Lyme) had good size. We panicked at times. They panicked at other times.”

The game was one of those games when you can’t get things in synch. It just happened to occur in a state tournament game. Both teams made plays defensively. Canton had 13 steals, led by Allison Celmer with nine. Sarah Bowman had four of Canton’s five blocked shots.

“Both teams are lot better than they showed,” Medeiros said. “You don’t get to this point by playing that style of basketball. Thankfully we found the way to get the (win).”

Canton led by nine points early in the third quarter with a quick 6-0 burst to begin the quarter. It was still a six-point game with four minutes left in the fourth quarter with Canton holding a 25-19 lead.

Canton’s defensive pressure and some nice passing allowed the Warriors to move ahead.

Paige Brown bounced the ball off an Old Lyme defender to Celmer, who drove to the basket for a score that extended the lead to 27-19 with 3:42 remaining. After the Wildcats missed a shot, Grace Treacy got the rebound and fired a full court pass to Charron, who caught it, took one step and laid it in with 3:09 remaining for a 10-point lead, 29-19.

Old Lyme’s Catherine Battalino scored with 2:52 left but Canton scored the next six points. The run was capped by Celmer, who got a steal at midcourt but fell to the floor. On her knees, she flipped the ball up to Charron, who was on the run and went straight to the basket for a layup with 1:42 remaining and a 35-21 lead.

“We played well in stretches,” Medeiros said. “Defensively, we were sound. We gave up just 25 points. But we have to do a better job rebounding the basketball.”

Canton’s Gabbie Schinkel (34) battles with Old Lyme’s Taylor Thompson, right, in Tuesday’s Class S tournament game in Canton.

NOTES: Northwest Catholic upset No. 4 East Hampton, 49-44 in overtime. The other Class S semifinal will feature No. 3 St. Paul in Bristol against No. 7 Trinity Catholic from Stamford. St. Paul trounced Bloomfield, 82-50 while Trinity Catholic eliminated No. 2 Housatonic, 52-34. It was the third straight Berkshire League opponent for Trinity Catholic, which plays in the FCIAC.

Canton 37, Old Lyme 25
At Canton
Old Lyme (25) Taylor Thompson 0-0-0, Britney DeRoehn 2 2-4 6, Ellie Zrenda 0-0-0, Emily DeRoehn 3 9-14 15, Catey Battalino 1-0-2, Bella Arias 1-0-2, Emma McCullough 0-0-0. Totals 7 11-18 25
Canton (37) Lauren Puglielli 0-0-0, Abby Charron 4 4-4 14, Morgan Walzak 0-0-0, Paige Brown 0 1-2 1, Allison Celmer 4-0-8, Grace Treacy 1-0-2, Lauren Eschenbrenner 2 4-4 9, Allie DelSanto 0-0-0, Sarah Bowman 0-0-0, Gabbie Schinkel 0 3-4 3. Totals 11 12-14 37
Old Lyme (18-6)          5  5  5  10  — 25
Canton (25-1)               9  3  9  16  — 37
Three-point goals: Charron (Ca) 2, Escenbrenner (Ca)

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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