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Defense has fueled recent success by Canton girls basketball team

The Canton High girls basketball team has won five of their last six games and has advanced to Monday’s Class S quarterfinal at No. 6 East Catholic. (Photo courtesy Scott Kerr)

The Canton High girls basketball team has won five of their last six games including three of four in the postseason.

The Warriors beat SMSA – a team they lost to by two points a week earlier– in the first round of the NCCC Tournament before falling in a tight 51-45 loss to Somers in the second round. A week earlier, Somers had beaten Canton by 31 points.

Canton, the 19th seed, opened up play in the CIAC Class S tournament with a 59-41 win over No. 14 Wright Tech.

Canton (12-12) followed that up with a 57-19 win over No. 3 Ellis Tech on the road in Danielson on Thursday night, a team that had won 18 games this season. The 19 points is the fewest points allowed in a tournament game in team history.

Defense is helping fuel Canton’s most successful run of the season.

“We were victorious in our first two state tournament games this past week. In both contests, we got off to a fast start due to our defensive intensity,” Canton High coach Brian Medeiros said. “We dictated the tempo, which lead to us getting out to running the floor in transition. Balanced scoring was a key to our offensive attack, which kept both teams’ defense on their heels.”

Canton outscored Ellis Tech, 20-6 in the first quarter and gave up just five points in the second half – all in the fourth quarter. Avery Brown led the Warriors with 16 points, four assists and four steals while freshman Rudy Therberge had 11 points and five blocked shots. Sam Yanke had six points, six rebounds and four assists. Hannah Glassey also had three assists.

Against Wright Tech in Stamford, Therberge had a game-high 19 points and seven rebounds while Yanke had four points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Brown scored 14 points with four assists and four steals with Helen Canny chipping in with 10 points.

“I’m really happy for this particular group as this is their first taste of (state tournament) success as we’ve been knocked out in the first round (Immaculate 2022, Woodland 2023) in the past two state tournaments,” Medeiros said. “I’m hopeful that we can continue this trend over the next two weeks.”

The previous record for fewest points allowed in a CIAC tournament game by Canton was 20 points in a 55-20 win over Wolcott Tech in 2016.

Canton returns to action on Monday night and will face No. 6 East Catholic (17-6) in Manchester in the Class S quarterfinals. The Eagles went 15-5 this season and dropped their first round game in the CCC Tournament. East Catholic has advanced with victories over Hale-Ray, 70-32, and St. Bernard’s, 66-43.

Canton 57, Ellis Tech 19
At Danielson
Canton (57) Avery Brown 7 2-4 16, Ruby Therberge 3 2-2 11, Sam Yanke 3-0-6, Brooke Czerwinski 2-0-6, Helen Canny 3-0-6, Ally Chickos 2-0-4, Lucy O’Connor 1-0-2, Avery Miller 0 0-2 0, Emery Howard 0 0-2 0, Stephanie Garcia 0 0-2 0, Kenzie Yanke 0-0-0, Hannah Glassey 0-0-0. Totals: 23 4-12 57
Ellis Tech (19) Kiara Cartier 1 4-5 7, Kylie Damble 1 5-8 7, Sadie Murray 1 0-2 2, Maja Bobinska 1-0-2, Hailey Haggett 0 1-2 1, Brooke Montecaluo 0-0-0, Totals: 4 10-17 19
Canton (12-12)            20  15  10  12  — 57
Ellis Tech (18-5)            6  8  0  5  — 19
Three-point shots: Therberge (C) 3, Czerwinski (C) 2, Cartier (ET)

Canton 59, Wright Tech 41
At Stamford
Canton (59) Ruby Therberge 7 1-1 19, Avery Brown 4 4-4 14, Helen Canny 4 1-2 10, Emery Howard 2 1-2 5, Sam Yanke 2-0-4, Ally Wire 1 1-2 3, Avery Miller 1-0-2, Kenzie Yanke 1-0-2, Hannah Glassey 0-0-0, Brooke Czerwinski 0-0-0, Totals 22 8-11 59
Wright Tech (41) Melani Velez 8 2-3 20, Peytyn Williams 3-0-6, Shaniah Evell 1 3-4 5, Rebecca Asalu 2-0-4, Jaclyn Dupree 1 1-2 4, Regan Miller 1-0-2, Totals: 16 6-9 41
Canton (11-12)            27  16  8  8  — 59
Wright Tech (11-11)   12  8  11  10  — 41
Three-point goals: Theberge (C) 4, A. Brown (C) 2, Canny (C), Velez (WT) 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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