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Berlin survives in defensive struggle with No. 25 Avon

Avon’s Adi Standish (10) looks for an opening against Berlin’s Jenna Borselle (21) during Friday night’s CIAC Class MM tournament game in Berlin. The host Redcoats prevailed, 33-26.

BERLIN, March 1, 2024 – There were no easy baskets in Friday night’s Class MM second round game between No. 9 Berlin High girls basketball team and No. 25 Avon.

Most shots were contested. Many were blocked and there were few open lanes to the basket.

Yet with 55 seconds remaining in regulation, Avon trailed just by three points. The Falcons scored five points in the span of 10 seconds to cut an eight-point lead to three thanks to a three-point shot from Gianna Godbout and a steal and layup from Haley Chisholm.

But the Redcoats hit a pair of free throws with 48 seconds remaining to extend their lead to five got a clinching basket with 17 seconds left to beat Avon, 33-26 in a second round contest.

Berlin (17-7) had a 16-12 lead at the half and a 22-16 lead after three quarters.

“Both teams really brought (it at) the defense (end) tonight and that makes for a very exciting game doesn’t it,” Berlin head coach Shelia King said.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Avon’s Adi Standish had blocks on three consecutive possessions for Berlin and Chishom had a steal. But the Falcons couldn’t convert at the other end.

“We go some of the looks (at the basket) that we were looking for and at the end of the day sometimes that is all you can control – the quality of the shot not if it goes in,” Avon coach Drew Faucher said. “Tonight, it didn’t fall. The rims felt a bit tight for us but I love what our girls did. It is easy to get frustrated when the ball doesn’t go through the net but I thought they kept battling.”

Godbout had a team-high 11 points, including a pair of three-point shots in the final minutes that kept Avon in the game and cut the lead to five with 1:09 remaining, 29-24. The Falcons had a few shots in that possession, but they twice pulled down rebounds after missed shots. They eventually kicked it out to Godbout in the corner, who hit the shot.

Chisholm got a steal and drove to the basket with 55 seconds left to cut the lead to 29-26. It was close as the Falcons would get.

“The best defense they’ve played all year, by far,” Faucher said. “They executed everything we talked about that is what kept them in it and gave them opportunities there at the end. I couldn’t be prouder.”

Brooke Walker led Berlin with 14 points, including sinking 10-of-12 shots from the free thrown line. Emma Ellison added nine.

Earlier this week, Avon (10-12) rolled past No. 5 Bullard Havens in Bridgeport with a 64-24 victory in the first round. Standish led all scorers with 14 points while Godbout scoring 12 and Lia Bosanac adding 10.

“We came out executed, shot the ball well and defense was strong,” Faucher said of the win over Bullard Havens. “We didn’t settle for anything. We kept our foot on the gas and played great basketball. In many ways, that was the springboard we were looking for going into this game — playing quality basketball. And you could see the focus and intensity tonight was where it needed to be.”

Berlin advances to the Class MM quarterfinals where they will host No. 17 Brookfield, who upset No. 1 Ellington on Friday, 55-48.

Berlin 33, Avon 26
At Berlin
Avon (26)
Lila Aguilar 0-0-0, Adi Standish 2-0-4, Sophia DiBella 0-0-0, Gianna Godbout 4-0-11, Haley Chisholm 2-0-4, Claire Cawley 0-0-0, Lia Bosanac 0-0-0, Mya Hall 2-2-7. Totals 10-2-26
Berlin (33) Maddy Sadowski 2-0-4, Brooke Walker 2-10-14, Alyssa Walker 0-0-0, Katie Litwinko 3-0-6, Jenna Borselle 0-0-0, Emma Ellision 4-0-9. Totals 11-10-33
Avon (10-12)                  5  7  4  10  — 26
Berlin (17-7)                  8  8  6  11 – 33
Three-point goals: Ellison (B), Godbout (A) 3, Hall (A)Avon 64, Bullard Havens 24
At Bridgeport
Avon (64
) Lila Aguilar 3-0-6, Grace Chute 0-0-0, Adi Standish 7-0-14, Sophia DiBella 3-0-6, Gianna Godbout 5-0-12, Haley Chisholm 3-0-7, Claire Cawley 2-1-5, Lia Bosanac 4-0-10, Mya Hall 0-0-0, Candace Graves 0-1-1, Ella Godbout 1-0-2. Totals 27-2
Bullard Havens (24) Burnett 1-0-3, Salinas 1-0-2, Taylor 1-1-3, Eaddy 0-0-0, Marshall 5-1-12, Ortiz 0-0-0, Bueho 0-0-0, Samuels 2-0-4. Totals 10-2
Avon (10-11)                  22  9  16  17  — 64
Bullard Havens (15-6)             8  4  4  8  — 24
Three-point goals: Marshall (B), G. Godbout (A) 2, Chisholm (A), Bosanac (A) 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 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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