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Defending NCCC champion Warriors open campaign with win over HMTCA

Canton’s Sarah Bowman (32) had six points as the defending NCCC champion Warriors beat HMTCA Wednesday night. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

HARTFORD, December 12 – The Canton High girls basketball team did something a year ago they had not been able to accomplish in the two seasons they won a state championship. The Warriors won the North Central Connecticut Conference title with a perfect 16-0 record.

It was their first outright league title since 1999. Canton did share the NCCC title with Avon in 2015.

However, the season ended on a disappointing note. The Warriors dropped the NCCC Tournament final with a one-point loss to East Windsor and Canton was eliminated in the first round of the Class S tournament on a buzzer-beating shot against Stamford’s Trinity Catholic.

Still, sixth-year head coach Brian Medeiros has an experienced squad returning for the 2018-19 campaign. Four starters return and the Warriors get 6-foot-3 senior center Sarah Bowman back on the court. She missed last year’s campaign with an ankle injury but played significant minutes in her sophomore year when Canton won the second of their back-to-back state championships.

Canton opened up the season on Wednesday night with a 55-28 victory over Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA) with senior All-NCCC guard Lauren Eschenbrenner scoring a game-high 10 points and junior All-State guard Abby Charron adding nine. Gabbie Schinkel added eight points while Bowman scored six.

Canton had a commanding 30-16 lead at halftime. Nicole Rosado had 16 points to lead HMTCA.

“The girls got off a nice start with a win at HMTCA,” Medeiros said. “We received great contributions from the core group, which led to 15 players getting into the game. Multiple sophomores and freshmen saw their first varsity action.

“It was a nice way to get into our season. We had the ability to get a lot of girls some quality playing time,” he said. “I’m really hopeful that our depth will cause problems for the opposition this year.”

The Warriors play their first game at home on Friday night at 7 p.m. when they host NCCC rival Rockville.

Canton’s Gabby Schinkel goes to the basket in Wednesday night’s win over HMTCA in Hartford. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

As per usual, the Warriors will challenge themselves in their four non-league contests. They face Class L finalist Farmington next Monday (Dec. 17) at home at 7 p.m. and will host Notre Dame-Fairfield on Saturday, January 5 in a 1 p.m. start. Canton will travel to Avon on Saturday, January 12 to challenge the Falcons in a 6 p.m. contest.

NOTES: Claudia Boehm, Camille Kashning and Sophia Stamos scored their first varsity points in the game. … Canton won on opening night for the sixth straight season.

Canton 55, HMTCA 28
At Hartford
Canton (55) Abby Charron 4-0-9, Allison Celmer 2 1-2 5, Lauren Eschenbrenner 4 2-2 10, Sarah Bowman 2 2-4 6, Morgan Walzak 1-0-3, Paige Brown 0 2-2 2, Grace Treacy 2 2-2 6, Gabbie Schinkel 4-0-8, Claudia Boehm 0 2-2 2, Camille Kashnig 1-0-2, Sophia Stamos 1-0-2, Lauren Puglielli 0-0-0, Jenna Cuniowski 0-0-0. Totals 21 11-14 55
HMTCA (28) Taleea Wiggsin 1-0-2, Jadie Huertas 1-0-2, Nicole Rosado 6-3-16, Karina Ortiz 1-2-5, Krystal Albert 1-0-3, Cyani Izizarry 0-0-0. Totals 10-5-28
Canton (1-0)                     10  20  17  8 – 55
HMTCA (0-1)                      3  13   5  7 – 28
Three-point goals: Charron (C), Walzak (C), Rosado (H), Ortiz (H), Albert (H)

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 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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