Pictured: Valley Regional’s Alena Crosby launches a 20-foot jumper early on in Thursday’s Shoreline Conference game while guarded by Coginchaug’s Taylor McDermott.
By Marc Silvestrini
DURHAM – Two big runs at the beginning of the third and fourth quarters helped Coginchaug overcome a two-point halftime deficit Thursday night en route to a 57-45 win over Valley Regional.
Led by senior guard Kerry Turecek, who scored 20 points in the final twoquarters, Coginchaug opened the second half with a 10-0 run to grab a 30-22 lead with three minutes to play in the quarter.
The Blue Devils (12-7), who led by six after three quarters, then ended the suspense early by opening the final quarter with a four-minute, 13-0 run that extended their lead to 19 at 47-28.
Turecek led all scorers with 28 points while teammates Jessica Berens and Molly Shields scored 11 apiece. Junior point guard Addi Marchese led the Warriors (7-12) with a 15-point effort while freshman Lily Grow finished with 9 and Alena Crosby scored 8.
The victory extended Coginchaug’s winning streak to seven straight.
“We started to get our offense under control late in the second quarter, and then we really started playing well in third quarter,” Coginchaug coach Chris Watson said. “Our defense kind of followed the same pattern. We were a little slow and out of synch in the first half, but started helping each other out and playing with more intensity in the third quarter.
“In the second half we stopped giving up those little kick-outs and short jumpers that Valley was getting earlier in the game.”
Watson also had high praise for the play of Turecek, Coginchaug’s offensive catalyst.
“She knew what she had to do, so she just took over the game,” he said. “She had a ton of big points for us in the second half.”
Turecek said her entire team played offense with more focus and defense with more intensity in the second half.
“We did a much better job of setting up our offense in the second half and looking for better shots,” she said. “We did everything a little better (in the second half), especially on defense.
“It kind of all came together for us at that point in the game.”
Shields opened the game by scoring from underneath, but eight points by Crosby and a 15-footer by Reagan Brenneman enabled the scrappy Warriors to launch a 10-2 spurt that gave them a 10-4 lead with three minutes to play in the quarter.
Turecek’s long 3-point bomb late in the quarter shaved Valley’s lead to 10-7 after the first eight minutes of play.
An assist and two straight buckets by Ava Cunningham helped the Warriors outscore their hosts 6-2 over the first three minutes of the second quarter, stretching their lead seven at 16-9. But five points by Turecek and four by freshman Sam Mancini helped Coginchaug close the quarter on an 11-6 run to climb to within two, 22-20, at halftime.
Five more points from Turecek helped fuel the 8-0 Coginchaug run that opened the third quarter – which ended with Coginchaug leading by six at 34-28.
Turecek was also at the forefront of the 13-0 run that began the fourth quarter, scoring nine of those points, as the Devils stretched their lead to 19 with 4:05 to play.
Marchese scored nine points over the game’s final four minutes and Grow added five as the spirited Warriors outscored their hosts 17-10 over the final minutes to set the final score at 57-45.
“We seemed to lose our intensity in the second half, we stopped moving without the ball and cutting on offense and we started giving up layups and short jumpers on defense,” Valley coach Jaimie Toto said. “You just can’t play as flat as we did in the second half and expect to beat a good team.”
Coginchaug, bound for the Shoreline and CIAC tournaments, will conclude its regular season Tuesday with a visit to North Branford. The Warriors, who are safely inside the 32-team cut line for the state tournament, wrap up their season Monday when they travel to Clinton to take on Morgan.
Coginchaug 57, Valley 45
VALLEY REGIONAL (45)
Ava Cunningham 3 1-1 7, Addi Marchese 3 7-8 15, Alena Crosby 3 1-2 8, Siena Schaller 1 0-1 2, Salmi Miller 1 0-0 2, Lily Grow 3 3-3 9, Reagan Brenneman 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 12-15 45.
Sam Mancini 2 3-6 7, Alyssa Woodward 0 0-0 0, Jessica Berens 5 1-2 11, Raegan Moore 0 0-0 0, Taylor McDermott 0 0-0 0, Kerry Turecek 8 9-12 28, Molly Shields 5 1-1 11. Totals 20 14-21 57.
Score By Quarters
V 10 12 6 17—45
C 7 13 14 23—57
3-Pointers: V—Marchese 2, Crosby 1; C—Turecek 3