By Marc Silvestrini
OLD LYME — Morgan outscored Old Lyme 9-2 over the final six minutes of regulation in Monday’s Shoreline Conference opener for both teams and then scored the only points in overtime on a clutch 10-footer from Leah McComiskey to seal a 34-32 victory.
The winning hoop came off a feed from teammate Alexandra Kelly with 2:39 to play.
McComiskey made another critical play with 1:31 to go when the senior center came up with a steal to thwart Old Lyme’s last and best chance to tie the game.
Morgan guards Caitlyn Donadio and Caeley Ayer — who happen to be cousins — then sealed the deal by keeping the ball away from the swarming Wildcat defense for most of the final 90 seconds.
“(McComiskey) was huge for us tonight and we got a lot of help from our two guards, who handled the ball pretty well for us down the stretch with the game on the line,” Morgan coach Caitlin Woods said. “Old Lyme is a very athletic, very good basketball team and we knew some of our people would have to be at their best and become game-changers for us to win.”
Morgan raced off to an early 10-3 lead as Donadio and McComiskey each had a pair of buckets in the early going. But a jumper by Old Lyme’s Sam Gray with 22 seconds left in the opening quarter and a steal and layup by Gray early in the second quarter brought the Wildcats back to within three with 7:30 to play in the first half.
Four straight Donadio free throws extended the Huskies’ lead to 21-14 with 1:14 left in the half before a side jumper by Ali Kyle brought the Wildcats to within five, at 21-16, at halftime.
Behind Old Lyme coach Don Bugbee’s decision to switch from the man-to-man defense he had deployed through most of the first half to a zone, plus the scoring of Emily Derdehn (who had six points in the third quarter) and Grace Lathrop (who chipped in with four), Old Lyme dominated the third quarter, outscoring Morgan 12-2 to take a 28-23 lead after three quarters.
The Wildcats stretched their lead to 30-23 on a short bank shot by Derdehn with 6:05 to play, but Ayer responded with a 15-footer, Kelly hit a layup off an inbounds pass, and Annalyse Olcott hit a pair of free throws to spark a 6-0 Huskies run that brought Morgan to within 30-29 with 4:07 left.
Old Lyme’s Megan Loflin hit a layup late in regulation to give the Wildcats a 32-30 lead, but Kelly hit a short jumper from in front off a feed from Ayer with 1:11 to play in regulation, knotting the game at 32. It set up McComiskey’s game-winning bucket in overtime and the Donadio/Ayer game of keepaway in the final minute and a half.
“I liked our effort, I thought we played hard, but we just couldn’t put the ball into the basket tonight with any consistency,” Bugbee said. “But don’t take anything away from Morgan. They’re a very good team and they played real well tonight. I’m sure they’ll be one of the best teams in the Shoreline this year.
“As for us,” Bugbee added, “the good news is that everything we did wrong tonight is correctable. With a little hard work, everything can be fixed.”
Donadio led the Huskies with an 11-point night, while Kelly chipped in with eight and McComiskey had six.
Gray had 10 points to pace the Wildcats, while Derdehn had nine and Lathrop had six.
Caitlyn Donadio 3 5 11, Caeley Ayer 2 0 5, Annalyse Olcott 0 2 2, Leah McComiskey 3 0 6, Alexandra Kelly 4 0 8, Katelyn Martin 1 0 2. Totals: 13 7 34.
OLD LYME (32)
Grace Lathrop 2 2 6, Ali Kyle 1 0 2, Sam Gray 4 1 10, Emily Derdehn 3 3 9, Megan Loflin 2 1 5, Fiona Frederiks 0 0 0, Ellie Zrenda 0 0 0. Totals: 12 7 32.
Score By Quarters
3-Pointers: M—Ayer; OL—Gray.
Records: Morgan 1-0; Old Lyme 0-1.
- Morgan visits Valley Regional on Wednesday.
- Old Lyme visits Old Saybrook on Wednesday.