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Girls’ Basketball Team Has Most Complete Effort Of Young Season



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Newtown High School’s girls’ basketball team put together its most thorough start-to-finish effort of the season, Coach Jeremy O’Connell said, when his Nighthawks trounced visiting Carmel of New York 65-27 on January 4.

The final score does pretty much tell the story as the Nighthawks dominated from the start en route to building a 33-16 halftime lead before cruising to their most lopsided win while improving to 4-1 overall.

“This was the best game we’ve played all year, the most complete game we’ve played all year,” the coach said.

O’Connell saw improvement within the tilt, especially in a facet of the game the Hawks emphasize most: Defense.

“I think in the second half our defensive intensity is where it needs to be,” said O’Connell, whose team allowed only 11 points after break even with his starters out of the game for many of those minutes.

This was a complete game effort non only in terms of on-the-court play but considering who was on the floor contributing — literally at times. In total, 12 team members played, two of whom saw their first varsity action, and ten scored. Molly McCleary had her first varsity points, calmly sinking a pair of free throws, and Bella Gerace saw her first varsity action, handling the ball quite a bit late in the game. Nighthawks, including Rebecca Alicea on multiple occasions, dove to the floor for loose balls. There was hustle with and without the ball from the opening tip until the final buzzer.

“Emma Magazu and Julia Gerace stepped up and were fantastic at both ends of the floor,” O’Connell said.

Juliette Cryder led the way with 15 points; Chloe O’Connell and Cyleigh Wilson both dropped in nine; Amy Sapenter had eight; and Magazu, Gerace, and Allie Bradley each contributed six points. Carley Smith, Shea Murphy, and McCleary each chipped in with two.

Magazu grabbed ten rebounds and had three steals and a trio of assists; Sapenter had seven rebounds, three steals, a block, and four assists; Bradley had five rebounds; and Murphy had three rebounds.

O’Connell likes to utilize team depth with frequent substitutions to maintain a pressuring defensive approach throughout games but got to use more of the bench than in past games due to the runaway showing on the scoreboard. The younger players work hard in practice and their junior varsity games to earn this playing time, he noted.

Allie Bradley drives to the basket during Newtown's win over Carmel. —Bee Photos, Hutchison
Shea Murphy hustles up the court.
Emma Magazu dribbles the ball.
Juliette Cryder, left, and Julia Gerace defend.
Amy Sapenter makes a move toward the hoop.
Carlie Smith pushes the pace as the Hawks move up the court.
Chloe O'Connell, right, fights for the ball.
Bella Gerace leads the way up the court.
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