WINDSOR, March 24, 2021 – Both girls basketball teams played tough, in-your-face defense and both teams were looking for a trip to the the Central Connecticut Conference (CCC) tournament championship game for the first time in years.
But it will be No. 2 seed Windsor making their first trip to the CCC Tournament finals since 2007 after they held No. 3 Simsbury to just two field goals in the final five minutes of the game. Behind a game-high 20 points from freshman Ayanna Franks, the Warriors eliminated the Trojans, 41-32.
Windsor will face top-seeded Newington (14-0) for the CCC Tournament championship on Friday.
Simsbury (12-2) had their 12-game winning streak snapped and missed out on their first trip to the CCC Tournament title game since 2000.
Simsbury tied the game at 30-30 when Mary McElroy drove to the basket and put a one-handed shot in off the glass with 4:59 remaining. However, Windsor went on a 11-0 run to earn the victory. Simsbury’s Olivia Jarvis scored off a rebound with a second remaining.
Windsor’s swarming defense frequently collapsed on Simsbury’s ballhandler, making it difficult for the Trojans to get clean shots at the basket.
It was the Warriors (13-1) who were able to make a few more plays in the final few minutes. Windsor’s Jaidan Tahoun drained a three-point shot with 3:52 left and it gave the Warriors a big three-point cushion and a 33-30 lead.
The Warriors extended the lead when Franks drove into the lane, scored with a layup off the glass and collided with McElroy, who was called for a blocking foul with 2:38 remaining. Franks sank the foul shot to swell the lead to six points, 36-30.
With 1:42 remaining, Franks stole an inbounds pass, streaked to the basket and was fouled. She hit a pair of free throws for a 38-30 advantage.
Franks scored eight points in the fourth quarter and had 15 of her 20 points in the second half. She also had five steals and two blocked shots. Rebecca Fraley added 10 points and pulled down five rebounds while Windsor teammate Nyah Wells had 10 rebounds and blocked three shots.
Simsbury led by four points at halftime, 20-16 and extended that lead to six, 22-18, when Faye Kaplinski hit a jumper in the lane midway through the third period.
But the Warriors didn’t wilt. They took the lead, 24-22, with an 8-0 run in the third quarter with Franks scoring six points in the run.
Lauren Sabia led Simsbury with eight points with Mary McElroy adding seven.
Windsor 41, Simsbury 30
Simsbury (30) Mary McElroy 2-2-7, Katherine Perlitz 2-0-4, Lauren Sabia 3-0-8, Ellie McElroy 0-1-1, Olivia Jarvis 1-0-2, Faye Kaplinski 2-1-5, Amanda Gallagher 1-0-3, Reece Willison 1-0-2, Amelia Rodgers 0-0-0. Totals 12-7
Windsor (41) Ayanna Franks 5-9-20, Jaidan Tahoun 2-1-6, Nyiah Wells 2-1-5, Rebecca Fraley 2-6-10, Raem Reid 0-0-0, Hailey Rivers 0-0-0. Totals 11-10
Simsbury (12-2) 12 8 6 6 — 30
Windsor (13-1) 6 10 8 17 – 41
Three-point goals: M. McElroy (S), Sabia (S) 2, Gallagher (S); Franks (W), Tahoun (W)
2021 CCC championship bracket
Monday, March 22
Game 1: (1) Newington 55, (8) Bristol Central 35
Game 2: (4) Southington 30, (5) East Hartford 28
Game 3: (3) Simsbury 51, (6) Middletown 26
Game 4: (2) Windsor vs. (7) E.O. Smith, cancelled
E.O. Smith withdrew due to a COVID-19 issue
Wednesday, March 24
Game 5: Newington 49, Southington 32
Game 6: Windsor 41, Simsbury 32
Game 7: Middletown 71, Bristol Eastern 63
Friday, March 26
Game 9: Final: Windsor at Newington