After losing a 52-49 double-overtime thriller at Joel Barlow of Redding on January 31, the Newtown High School girls’ basketball team got back on track, beating the visiting New Milford Green Wave, 43-36, in a very important late-season game, on February 4.
Newtown was led by Sarah Lynch who had 19 points and also led the team with three steals. Cassie Ekstrom contributed to the win by bringing down 11 rebounds. Mali Klorczyk gave the team a spark after hitting back to back 3-pointers and tacking on a couple more clutch buckets.
Newtown came out of the gates hot, playing stellar defense, holding the Green Wave to 17 points in the first half. Newtown was up by as many as ten in the first half, but gave a few points away after some turnovers and defensive miscues.
New Milford kept the game close in the second half and got within four points, but Newtown’s offensive rebounds and tight defense kept the Nighthawks on top the entire game. Kelly Merrick played a key role on the offensive side and added a 3-point play in the second half which really boosted Newtown’s confidence and momentum .
Although they let the game get close at times, the Newtown girls never lost total control. Newtown Coach Jeremy O’Connell was pleased with the effort his team put in on the defensive front and how the girls never gave up the lead.
“We go through some times during each game where we lose focus, but again it has been a growing process all year and this game shows the growth and maturation of the girls throughout the season because they found a way to be successful and that is what we need every game,” O’Connell said.
“New Milford did a great job staying in it, they made a little run, but it never got below a four point game and every time we needed to, we got a stop, got a bucket, so it was huge,” O’Connell said.
Newtown improved to 7-8 overall with this win against their conference foes. The win stands to act as a great momentum boost for Newtown as it prepares for its next game, a February 6 visit from Weston at 7 pm.
After the Weston game, the Nighthawks have four games remaining, beginning with a visit to Pomperaug of Southbury at 3:30 pm on Saturday, February 8. Newtown needs just one win to qualify for the state playoffs.