Pictured: Coginchaug coach Chris Watson with his players, including Molly Shields (30) and Kerry Turecek (23), during a timeout Friday night.

By Marc Silvestrini

DURHAM — The Coginchaug girls basketball team evened its record at 1-1 Friday night with a 71-15 thumping of Hale Ray in the Lady Devils’ home opener.

But, despite the final score, both coaches said they were pleased at the end of the game. In fact, both said they saw good things from their respective teams.

Coginchaug coach Chris Watson liked the tenacity with which his defense played and also liked the positive contributions made by a number of his bench players.

“Some of these players got to play a little bit more than usual tonight and I liked a lot of what I saw,” he said. “They did a lot of the little things, a lot of the stuff we’ve been emphasizing in practice, very well tonight.”

Noises coach Karen Sweet liked the attitude her young team displayed throughout the game and the fact that her squad never let up and never stopped playing hard even as its deficit mounted.

“This group is very committed to becoming a better basketball team, and I’m very proud of their attitude,” she said. “We’re a very young team, we don’t have a lot of players with tons of basketball experience, but every day they show up for practice and work real hard.

“I know there’s some frustration, I know we have a pretty big mountain to climb as a team,” she continued. “But these kids keep showing up and keep trying to get better every day – and that makes me very proud.”

Hale Ray, now 0-3 both on the season and in Shoreline Conference play, is indeed a young and inexperienced team. The Noises dressed just nine players for the game. Only one of the nine, captain Hannah Klick, is a senior.

Coginchaug center Jessica Berens (13), who led all scorers with 14 points, is guarded in the paint by Jessica Stricker. To their right is Hale-Ray’s Mya Darrow.

Coginchaug’s tough, aggressive defense and superiority under the boards showed up early as the Devils scored the evening’s first eight points on putbacks by Molly Shields and Jessica Berens, a steal and layup by Kerry Turecek and a foul-line jumper by Taylor McDermott in the game’s opening three minutes.

Emily Cappitella’s 20-footer at the 4:38 mark got the Noises on the board, but the Devils ran off another eight in a row – including two more buckets by Berens – to take a 16-2 lead after the first quarter of play.

The Devils then went on a 13-4 run over the first six minutes of the second quarter to stretch their lead to 23 (29-6). Turecek then closed the first half by scoring three straight points and lofting a pretty feed to Amalia DeMartino for a layup that made it 36-9 at the half.

The Noises scored three of the first five points of the third quarter on a short jumper by Mya Darrow and a free throw by freshman Brooke Praskievicz to pull to within 38-12. McDermott hit a long jumper and followed quickly with a 3-pointer to trigger a 23-0 Coginchaug run over the next eight minutes that extend the Devils’ lead to 61-12 with 5:04 to play.

“I thought we were a little sloppy in the first half but played a much tighter game in the second half,” Watson said. “We did a much better job of doing the little things in the second half – of paying attention to all those little details we keep working on.”

Berens finished with 14 points to lead all scorers while McDermott and Turecek each had nine for the Devils, and Shields tallied eight.

“We showed that we’re a pretty good defensive team tonight,” Berens, a strong All-State candidate, said. “I liked the way we passed the ball and the unselfish way we played.”

Cappitella and Klick led the Noises with six points apiece.

Coginchaug, which bounced back from a tough opening-night loss to Valley Regional on Monday, is now 1-1 both overall and in Shoreline play. The Devils will play Farmington in a holiday tournament next Friday night at North Haven High School.

Hale Ray is off until Jan. 2 when the Noises host Old Saybrook.

Box Score

Emily Cappitella 3 0 6, Gabby Aquilera 0 0 0, Kayla Bartolotta 0 0 0, Mya Darrow 1 0 2, Brianna Ibbotson 0 0 0, Sonja Jaturerat 0 0 0, Hannah Klick 2 1 6, Brooke Praskievicz 0 1 1, Jessica Stricker 0 0 0. Totals: 6 2 15.

Sam Mancini 3 0 6, Kerry Turecek 4 1 9, Maura Zettergren 3 0 6, Jessica Berens 6 2 14, Chloe Shafir 2 0 4, Alyssa Woodward 2 1 5, Amalia DeMartino 1 2 4, Raegan Moore 0 0 0, Taylor McDermott 4 0 9, Molly Shields 3 2 8, Allison Sambor 1 0 2, Carly Benbow 2 0 4. Totals: 31 8 71.

Score By Quarters

3-Pointers: HR—Klick 1; C—McDermott 1.
Records: Hale Ray 0-3 (0-3); Coginchaug 1-1 (1-1).

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