Blue Dragons Handle Berlin; Mercy Deals Sheehan 1st Loss

Posted by

Pictured: Clare McGeever’s drive to the basket is stopped cold by Middletown’s Kya Mayo, who gets all ball in the third quarter of Friday’s CCC game against visiting Berlin.

By Paul Augeri
middlesexcountysports@gmail.com

MIDDLETOWN – Two nights after losing another close one to undefeated Newington, the Middletown girls basketball team returned home with a renewed sense of purpose.

the carrot that is a spot in the championship bracket of the looming Central Connecticut Conference tournament certainly motivated the Blue Dragons, too.

Middletown’s pressure defense made it an uncomfortable Friday night for Berlin, and the offense utilized several scoring options in its 57-39 CCC win over the Redcoats at LaBella-Sullivan Gymnasium.

Junior guard Tyah Pettaway led the way with 15 points for Middletown. The team’s leading scorer had lots of support – freshman Shalyn Smith scored 13 points off the bench, senior captains Aysia Henderson (10 points) and Kya Mayo (8) were big factors and sophomore forward Jada Bryant added 9 points.

The Dragons (7-2) sprung from the gate with runs of 10-2 and 10-4 in the four-minute blocks of the first quarter, led 31-14 at halftime and never looked back.

Tyah Pettaway scored a game-high 15 points for Middletown in Friday’s win over Berlin.

“I was a little concerned just because we won pretty handily (50-33) the first time we played Berlin,” said Middletown coach Rob Smernoff, “and (four-year guard Carly Grega) didn’t play in that game, so I thought Berlin would be much faster today.

“But our team was ready to go. They were very focused. That first quarter, we just jumped on them. We kind of felt like if we pressed them right off the bat, that we could set the tone. Sometimes that blows up in your face, but they really executed well today. I was happy.”

Middletown can clinch a top-8 seed in the CCC tournament by winning remaining games against Rocky Hill (Monday, away), Maloney (Tuesday, home) and Platt (Friday, away). The Blue Dragons beat Maloney by 34 and Platt by 30 in February. Rocky Hill has played only two games this season, with Middletown figuring to have the advantage in that one.

“Being in the top eight bracket of the tournament is really important to us,” Smernoff said.

Middletown began the week ranked 10th in the GameTimeCT poll, with Wednesday’s road game against No. 4 Newington coming just a week after the teams played into overtime in Middletown. Newington won that one, 48-44.

On Wednesday, the Blue Dragons were down by three with 57 seconds left, but they never got into a position to tie it or get ahead. Lilly Ferguson scored 30 points for Newington, one more than Pettaway.

“Tyah and Lilly kind of matched each other shot for shot,” Smernoff said. “As basic as it sounds, they (Newington) were just on. We had great looks and kids who normally are very competent on offense, the ball just decided it didn’t want go go in” in the stretch.

Smernoff said his players are not content just to be competitive against a top-tier opponent.

“We were right there both games, and they were upset we didn’t win,” the coach said. “It was good because they were upset and (the losses) stung, but they didn’t go after each other and point fingers. They didn’t blame the coaches or the referees.

“I think that the first game we definitely felt like we outplayed them for longer stretches than they outplayed us. The second game, Newington hit four of its first five and we were trying to catch up all game. We almost got all the way back.”

BERLIN (5-5)
Wynter Youan 3 0-0 7, Carly Grega 1 3-4 5, Riley Cop 3 3-4 9, Clare McGeever 2 0-0 5, Alivia Hulkias 3 7-9 13. Totals: 12 13-17 39.

MIDDLETOWN (7-2)
Jada Bryant 4 1-2 9, Aysia Henderson 5 0-0 10, Tyah Pettaway 7 0-0 15, Kya Mayo 3 0-0 8, Shadae Bushay 1 0-0 2, Shalyn Smith 6 1-2 13, Azra Cecunjanin 0 0-0 0, Jenaya Salafia 0 0-0 0, Kaila Torres 0 0-0 0. Totals: 26 2-4 57.

Score By Quarters
B 6 8 7 18–39
M 20 11 16 10–57

3-Pointers: B—Youan 1, McGeever 1; M—Mayo 2, Pettaway 1.

In other Friday night games:

Mercy 45, Sheehan 34

SHEEHAN (10-1)
Hayleigh Lagase 3 0-0 7, Caitlyn Hunt 5 1-2 11, Dempsey Lajoie 1 0-2 3, Caitlyn Velez 1 0-0 2, Molly Smolenski 2 0-0 6, Darla Jagrosse 1 0-1 2, Madison DiPasquale 1 1-1 3. Totals: 14 2-6 34.

MERCY (8-3)
Avery Kohs 3 0-0 7, Sophie Hedge 5 3-6 15, Ava Giansiracusa 3 1-2 9, Jasmine Mendez 1 0-0 2, Melina Ford 3 1-1 7, Kate Donlan 1 0-0 2, Lily Schoonmaker 1 0-0 2, Sam Strell 0 1-2 1. Totals: 17 6-10 45.

Score By Quarters
S 9 7 6 12–34
M 4 9 19 13–45

3-Pointers: S–Smolenski 2, Lagase 1, Lajoie 1; M–Hedge 2, Giansiracusa 2, Kohs 1.

Xavier 55, Sheehan 54

XAVIER (8-2)
Justin Menard 8 8-8 27; Parker Hunter 3 0-0 6; Sathvik Vakati 3 5-8 11; Anthony Parker 1 0-0 2; Nick Beaulieu 1 3-4 5; Malcolm Wilson-Toliver 2 0-0 4. Totals: 18 16-20 55.

SHEEHAN (4-7)
Jaydon Kapoor 4 1-2 10; Siville Bowleg 2 0-0 6; Anthony MarkAnthony 4 2-2 13; Jack McDonnell 7 3-4 19; Vin Carbone 2 0-0 6. Totals: 19 6-8 54.

Score By Quarters
X 14 10 10 21–55
S 15 13 12 14–54

3-Pointers: X–Menard 3; S–MarkAnthony 3, McDonnell 2, Bowleg 2, Carbone 2, Kapoor.

Middletown 52, Berlin 39

MIDDLETOWN (9-1)
Mekhi Toler 6 1-1 14, Marshall Butler 0 1-2 1, Elijah Wilborn 4 3-7 11, Chace Petgrave 4 0-0 10, Dariyon Drake 3 1-2 7, Kai Cottle 0 0-0 0, Jayden Johnson 2 0-0 5, Isaiah Rodgers 1 1-2 4, Quadir Murphy 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 7-14 52.

BERLIN (5-5)
Justin Piskorski 1 0-0 2, Michael Ciarcia 1 4-7 6, Toby Lavender1 2-2 4, Joe Caracoglia 2 0-0 4, Zach Skinner 1 0-0 2, Nick Melville 1 2-2 4, Sal Dastoli 3 1-2 9, Ryan Steck 1 0-0 2, Jake Smalley 1 0-0 2, Jon D’Amore 2 0-1 4. Totals: 14 9-14 39.

Score By Quarters
M 8 13 16 15–52
B 11 6 10 12–39

3-Pointers: M–Petgrave 2, Toler 1, Johnson 1, Rodgers 1; B–Dastoli 2.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.