CANTON, February 7, 2020 – The Canton High girls basketball team did something no other team in program history has achieved. They captured a third straight league championship Friday night when the Warriors outlasted pesky Sport Medicine Science Academy, 51-45.
Canton (16-2, 14-0 NCCC) finishes undefeated in the league for the third consecutive season. But it wasn’t easy. For the first time in several weeks, the Warriors felt the pressure.
SMSA (10-9, 9-4 NCCC) led by as many as six points in the fourth quarter and had a five-point lead with 3:19 remaining. But Canton forced four turnovers in the next 1:29 and got two huge three-point shots from Grace Treacy to take the lead for good.
The Tigers didn’t score a field goal in the final 5:16 of the contest and once SMSA took their five-point lead with 3:19 left, 45-40, the Warriors scored the final 11 points of the game.
“I told them that they were 2:30 away from someone dancing on your floor (with a big upset),” Canton coach Brian Medeiros said. “I have to give (Canton) a lot of credit because they made plays when they needed to.”
SMSA led 45-40 with 3:19 remaining and then the Warriors turned the ball over with three minutes remaining but the Tigers couldn’t take advantage.
Canton stole the ball and fed All-State guard Abby Charron, who was fouled and hit a pair of foul shots to cut the lead to three, 45-42, with 2:48 remaining. With 2:12 remaining, Canton’s Allison Celmer stole the ball and couldn’t convert but the Warriors got the rebound of Celmer’s miss. That led to Treacy tying the game at 45-45 with a three-point shot with 2:08 remaining.
SMSA missed a pair of free throws with 1:30 left in the game and Celmer pulled down the rebound. At the other end of the floor, the Tigers knocked the ball out of bounds. Canton’s Paige Brown inbounded the ball to a wide-open Treacy, who drained another three-point shot with 1:48 remaining to give Canton a 48-45 lead.
Charron hit one of two foul shots with 34.2 seconds left to push the lead to 49-45. At the other end, SMSA missed the shot but Brown came up with the key rebound. Treacy hit a pair of free throws with 8.7 seconds left for a 51-45 score.
“Today, for the first time in a really long time, they felt the pressure,” Medeiros said. “I think they realized about what was about to happen and, to their credit, they found ways to make sure it didn’t happen. They all found a way (to win). Anyone who was out there found a way to make something good happen.”
Charron led all scorers with 18 points with 11 rebounds, three steals and four assists. Treacy scored 11 points, including eight in the final 2:08 of the contest. Celmer scored six points but she pulled down 11 rebounds.
Kalissa Jameson had 16 points for SMSA, which had several opportunities to pull off the upset but turnovers in the final few minutes doomed their upset bid.
“When the time is needed, we rise to the occasion,” Charron said. “Every single player on the floor can take the big shot when it is needed.”
Canton has two road games remaining at Farmington on Wednesday night (February 12) and against Granby on Friday night (February 14).
The NCCC Tournament begins on February 19 with the play-in round. The quarterfinals will be Friday, February 21 with the semifinals on February 25. The title game will be Thursday, February 27. Canton is the top seed in the tournament and will play their NCCC tournament games in Canton.
Canton 51, SMSA 45
SMSA (45) Kalissa Jameson 6 4-5 16, Becca Mayer 3-0-7, Chyna Tones 3 2-3 8, Kaikai Demark 4 2-4 10, Destiny Bernos 1-0-2, Noni Jones 1-0-2. Totals 18 8-12 45
Canton (51) Abby Charron 7 4-8 18, Allison Celmer 3-0-6, Grace Treacy 3 2-2 11, Lauren Eschenbrenner 2 1-2 7, Gabbie Schinkel 0-0-0, Ty Adams 0-0-0, Claudia Boehm 1-0-2, Jenna Cuniowski 1-0-2, Paige Brown 2-0-5. Totals 18 7-12 51
SMSA (10-9) 8 12 17 8 — 45
Canton (16-2) 9 16 8 18 — 51
Three-point goals: Mayer (S), Treacy (Ca) 3, Escenbrenner (Ca) 2
NCCC Girls Basketball standings
Team NCCC Overall
x-Canton 14-0 16-2
Suffield 11-1 12-5
Windsor Locks 10-2 13-3
East Windsor 9-3 10-6
Granby 8-4 10-6
Coventry 7-5 10-7
x-clinched league championship
Canton 51, SMSA 45
Suffield 67, Classical 16
Windsor Locks at Granby
Rockville at East Windsor