Pictured: East Hampton freshman Liana Salamone looks for an open teammate in the second quarter of Friday’s Shoreline game against Coginchaug. (Photo by Paul Augeri)

By Paul Augeri
middlesexcountysports@gmail.com

EAST HAMPTON – This season’s version of the East Hampton girls basketball team is charting its own course.

The Bellringers are tasked with defending a Shoreline Conference championship won by a 2021 squad that had five senior starters and went undefeated, that group’s second straight superlative season.

On Friday night, coach Shaun Russell started a freshman (Liana Salamone), two sophomores (Jackie Russell and Delaney Russell), a junior (Amber Murphy) and senior Madison Yorker, who came off the bench last winter.

Chloe Shafir of Coginchaug (24) prevents East Hampton’s Jackie Russell from penetrating the paint in the first half of their Shoreline Conference game. (Photo by Paul Augeri)

Game by game, Russell’s lineup is getting more and more comfortable and it took another step forward in the process with its seventh win in eight games, 49-25 over Coginchaug.

Russell said last year’s team has rubbed off on this particular group in the best of ways.

“What teams like that leave behind is a residue on how to do things,” he said. “And the kids that are returning paid attention and the young kids that have come in bought into that right away. This group of kids you watched tonight have played together a long time as a group. There’s a certain trust and familiarity. That’s a good foundation for a team.”

Salamone was the main attraction on this night. With the savviness and court awareness of a veteran, she maneuvered her way up and down the floor to a game-high 23 points — most of them on strong drives to the basket using either hand.

Delaney Russell added 10 points and Jackie Russell finished with 8 for the Bellringers, who have won four straight since a Dec. 28 loss to Cromwell.

“We are definitely a work in progress,” Coach Russell said. “We’re getting better every day and the girls are putting the work in. We just need to find the things that make the group play better. We’re still working a little bit on groupings with the roster, getting the right guys on the floor offensively and defensively, but they’ve been willing to be a part of that. I’m very impressed with the work ethic and the togetherness. They support each other. It’s a great group to be with every day.”

Junior Chloe Shafir led Coginchaug (5-2) with 7 points and freshman Sophie Farr, thrust into a starting role again for the shorthanded Blue Devils, scored 6 points.

Salamone scored East Hampton’s first six points of the night. A basket by Serena Fournier put Coginchaug ahead for what proved to be the final time at 7-6. Jackie Russell swished a 3-pointer and Salamone made a layup to put the Bellringers ahead by four.

Holding an 11-8 advantage at the end of the first quarter, East Hampton increased the lead to seven (17-10) behind a coast-to-coast layup by Salamone, a roll to the basket by Amber Murphy and another strong drive by Salamone.

Shafir’s 3-pointer and a layup cut the Blue Devils’ deficit to two, but East Hampton ended the half with Delaney Russell scoring in transition and Jackie Russell drilling another 3-pointer for a 22-15 lead.

Coginchaug struggled with its execution in the half-court against East Hampton’s defense and the Bellringers allowing few second-chance scoring opportunities.

Coach Shaun Russell and the Bellringers have won seven of their first eight games this season. (Photo by Paul Augeri)

“They executed and we didn’t. That’s the bottom line,” Blue Devils coach Chris Watson said. “The big thing with us is when our off isn’t going well, our defense takes a hit. When our offense is going well, we are motivated defensively, and obviously we couldn’t get much going offensively.”

The Bellringers scored six consecutive points to open the second half — a baseline jumper by Yorker, a Salamone putback of her own miss and a layup by the freshman — to extend their lead to 13.

Sophie Farr drained a 3 from the top of the circle and went strong to the basket on Coginchaug’s next possession to trim East Hampton’s lead to eight, but it was the last time the Blue Devils’ faced a single-digit deficit.

Salamone cleaned up a missed 3 by Jackie Russell, Delaney Russell converted a Salamone feed, and Salamone against went coast to coast as East Hampton ended the quarter on 6-0 run to forge a 34-20 lead heading to the fourth.

“We made a couple of good adjustments coming out of the half on defense,” Coach Russell said. “I think they locked it in nicely, then saw the gap get extended a little bit, and I think we felt like, ‘OK, now is the time to step on the gas if we can, and tonight we were able to do it.”

COGINCHAUG (5-2)
Sophie Farr 2 1 6, Katie Farr 1 0 2, Mia Poturnicki 2 0 4, Alison Strang 1 0 2, Chloe Shafir 2 2 7, Serena Fournier 1 2 4, Hannah Nielson 0 0 0, Jackie Kelly 0 0 0. Totals: 9 5 25.

EAST HAMPTON (7-1)
Liana Salamone 9 5 23, Delaney Russell 4 2 10, Jackie Russell 3 0 8, Jordan Murphy 0 0 0, Madison Yorker 1 0 2, Amber Murphy 2 0 4, Olivia DeMartino 1 0 2, Katie Ireland 0 0 0, Allie Jacobsen 0 0 0, Gabby Wiesner 0 0 0. Totals: 20 7 49.

Score By Quarters
Coginchaug…….8  7  5  5–25
East Hampton..11 11 12 15–49

3-pointers: Coginchaug–Sophie Farr 1, Shafir 1; East Hampton–Jackie Russell 2.

In other games around the county Friday:

Valley Regional 54, Portland 26

VALLEY REGIONAL (6-0)
Ava Cunningham 2 1 5, Abby Bradbury 3 2 11, Bitzy Klomp 1 0 2, Liz Allen 0 1 1, Olivia Cunningham 7 0 14, Lily Grow 0 0 0, Sharmel Rivera 1 0 2,  Siena Schaller 1 0 2, Regan Grow 7 2 16, Rubee Cecchini 1 0 2, Emma Gibson 0 0 0. Totals: 23 6 54.

PORTLAND (1-5)
Mckayla Wilk 0 0 0, Izzy McClelland 0 0 0, Hannah Brunk 4 0 8, Allison Scott 0 0 0, Kendra Schoeps 2 1 5, Morganne Pineda 0 3 3, Sam Lasky 4 2 10. Totals: 10 6 26.

Score By Quarters
Valley……14 18 13 9–54
Portland….7  3  6 10–26

3-pointers: Valley–Bradbury 3.
Up next: Valley at Northwest Catholic, Saturday, noon; Portland vs. Cromwell, Tuesday, 7.

Haddam-Killingworth 52, Hale-Ray 20

HADDAM-KILLINGWORTH (1-5)
Kaleigh Bodak 6 0-0 12, Cheyenne LaTouche 3 1-2 7, Julia Favalora 3 0-0 9, Audra Yazmer 3 0-0 6, Ella Commerford 4 0-0 10, Brenna Lonergan 1 0-0 2, Ava Ramino 2 0-0 4, Ana Garcia 1 0-0 2. Totals: 23 1-2 52.

HALE-RAY (0-6)
Brooke Praskievicz 4 0-2 8, Kayla Bartolotta 1 0-1 2, Nicole Sikorski 0 6-8 6, Jackie Goetz 1 0-2 2, Gabby Aguilera 1 0-0 2. Totals: 7 6-13 20.

Score By Quarters
H-K………18 10 22 2–52
Hale-Ray..4  2  7  7–20

3-pointers: H-K–Favalora 3, Commerford 2.
Of note: Commerford scored in double figures in just her second varsity start … H-K totaled 19 steals and had assists on 15 of its 23 field goals … LaTouche grabbed 10 rebounds … Yazmer finished 6 points, 5 rebounds, 6 steals and 4 assists.
Up next: H-K vs. Conard, Saturday, 1; Hale-Ray at Morgan, Tuesday, 7.

Morgan 36, Old Lyme 35

MORGAN (4-4)
Maeve Madura 2 0 5, Caeley Ayer 2 5 9, Ava Johnson 2 1 6, Katie Martin 4 2 10, Victoria O’Neill 1 0 2, Sofie Passante 1 0 2, Eva Sullivan 1 0 2. Totals: 13 8 36.

OLD LYME (4-3)
Ava Roth 1 0 2, Kate Walsh 1 0 2, Melanie Warren 1 0 2, Ali Kyle 1 2 4, Alexis Fenton 4 2 13, Megan Loflin 5 2 12. Totals: 13 6 36.

3-pointers: Morgan–Madura 1, Ayer 1; Old Lyme–Fenton 3.
Up next: Morgan vs. Hale-Ray, Tuesday, 7; Old Lyme vs. North Branford, Tuesday, 7:30.

Mercy 54, Jonathan Law 24

JONATHAN LAW (4-2)
Paige Jolley 2 0-0 5, Jenna Wasserman 1 0-2 2, Mariyah Reid 2 0-0 4, Shelby Green 2 5-13 9, Nicolina Salanto 2 0-0 4, Talia Salanto 0 0-2 0   Totals 9 5-17 24.

MERCY (5-2)
Avery Kohs 1 2-2 4, Sophie Hedge 4 3-4 12, Kate Donlan 2 1-2 5, Ava Giansiracusa 2 1-2 5, Melina Ford 5 4-7 14, Winnie Ciccarello 1 2-4 5, London Knox 1 0-0 2, Lily Schoonmaker 3 0-0 6, Bella Gonzalez 0 1-2 1. Totals: 19 14-23 54.

Score By Quarters
Jon Law…..5  8 11  0–24
Mercy…….14 15 17 8–54

3-pointers: Law–Jolley 1; Mercy–Hedge 1, Ciccarello 1.
Up next: Mercy at Norwich Free Academy, Monday, 1pm.

North Branford 59, Old Saybrook 21

OLD SAYBROOK (2-5)
Breleigh Cooke 2 0 4, Alex Ling 1 0 2, Beldina Feratovic 0 0 0, Sophia Barker 1 2 4, Makenna Cooke 1 0 2, Cassie Johnson 1 0 3, Sanai Baker 1 0 2, Meghan Wilcox 1 0 2, Ella Hagelston 0 1 1, Kyle Lake 0 1 1. Totals: 8 4 21.

NORTH BRANFORD (6-3)
Hanna Senerchia 1 1 3, Elena Pearson 1 2 4, Callie Holzer 1 0 2, Braeden LeBeau 6 1 13, Adriana Hills 1 0 2, Keana Criscuolo 14 1 31, Delaney Norman 1 0 2, Catherine Poulin 0 0 0, Natalia Lucibello 1 0 2. Totals: 26 5 59.

Score By Quarters
Old Saybrook……..0   7  4 10–21
North Branford….17 18 11 13–59

3-pointers: Old Saybrook–Johnson 1; North Branford–Criscuolo 2.
Up next: North Branford at East Haven, Monday, noon; Old Saybrook at Valley Regional, Tuesday, 4pm.

WRESTLING

South Windsor 45, Middletown 30

Middletown’s Jesse Baldwin (170 pounds) and Mario Paige (182) won their matches on Friday at South Windsor. Baldwin pinned Shawn Blocker in 39 seconds and Paige pinned Samuel Kasek in 1:39. Michael Negron at 145, Seth Varrato at 195 and Keyshawn Tatum at 220 won their matches by forfeit.

2 thoughts on “New Wave Of Bellringers Defeat Coginchaug, Raise Record To 7-1

  1. Fan says:

    Too bad you didn’t do a little write up on the Morgan /Old Lyme game last night.

    It came down to an old school three point play made with 5 seconds left by number 30 from Old Lyme to go ahead by one point . After some deliberating from the referees since the Morgan coach asked about the OL bench celebrating the foul shot make with still one second left to play.
    Then the Old Lyme team bench was given a technical with 1 second left . Number 11 from Morgan calmly sunk the two free throws to win the game by 1 point.

    That game was well worth the price of admission!!

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