#23 Lilly Ferguson blocks a shot as #3 Karissa Zocco and #20 Brianna Gadarowski look on during Newington's 63-14 win last Tuesday
Newington girls’ basketball wrapped up an undefeated regular season with a 53-26 win over Rocky Hill last Friday night, improving the team to 12-0.
Going undefeated was cause for celebration but it was win #11 that was special for another reason.
During a 63-14 victory over Bulkeley/SMSA last Tuesday, the Indians had every uniformed player score during the team’s last regular season home game.
“We had everyone score on our bench and that’s the kind of things we like to see,” said head coach Marc Tancredi, “The great thing about it is that our starters aren’t worried they didn’t get into double figures, they’re happy that every got to score.”
All 15 players scored at least two points, which is a rare feat to say the least.
Ella DePase (10), Karissa Zocco (9), Madison Romanello (8), Brianna Gadarowski (6), Lilly Ferguson (4), Alexie Armour (4), Marlie Zocco (4), Maia Ericson (4), Kayleigh Sanchez (2), Maya Johnson (2), Arianna Barnes (2), Emma Vumback (2), Ella Stair (2), Reese Salder (2), Lia Pouliot (2) each broke into the scoring column.
Tancredi started all four of his seniors (Armour, Romanello, Ericson, Sanchez) in the home finale and said each offer something unique, on and off the court, “They’ve been incredible. Early on we named them as our captains and they’ve really been true leaders for us by leading by example and showing our younger group how to prepare. They’ve done a great job.”
From the opening tip it was a mismatch as Newington took a commanding 32-2 midway through the second quarter, before taking the foot off the gas and turning it over to the bench.
DePase, a sophomore, scored all of her game-high 10 points in the third quarter.
“We talk about it as a staff that we have to look forward and we’re trying to get girls in to get them confidence, so when they step out with a bigger role on the varsity floor, they’ll be confident and make an impact.”
Ball movement has been the name of the game since Tancredi took the program in 2019. This season the team has emphasized this by sharing the ball more than ever, registering double-digit assists in 11 of 12 games this season.
Ferguson, a transfer from East Catholic and the team’s leading scorer, has fit right in with her willingness to distribute.
“She’s super unselfish and she’s very versatile. She tries to get others involved and it’s great to have her with us,” Tancredi said of Ferguson, “She’s transitioned here seamlessly. She’s a great kid and that’s part of the reason why she’s been so successful here.”
The seniors and Ferguson, along with the Zocco sisters, have a noticeable rapport on the court.
The Zocco twins came off the bench and made an immediate impact at the midway point of the first quarter when Karissa stole a pass and immediately fired a 60-foot cross-court pass to Marlie for a fast break layup.
“The players trust in one another and they know each other’s abilities. We’re not just keying on one player getting a certain number of shots a game. If someone is going to take away one of our threats, we’ll just go somewhere else and we’ll have confidence in that. We have prolific scorers, but we have really good compliment players as well.”
Newington closed out the regular season with the 27-point win at Rocky Hill, assuring a perfect regular season.
Ferguson had her usual stellar all-around performance (13-points, 7-rebounds, 5-steals), and [Karissa] Zocco added 12 points and five steals.
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Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin