Bears heading back to Mohegan after a 61-28 dismantling of Sacred Heart in the Class S semis
WATERBURY: There were plenty of former Thomaston High School stars sitting in the stands on Friday night during the Bears' Class S semifinal game against Sacred Heart, played at Wilby High School.
If you looked close within the jammed packed bleachers filled with Bears faithful, there was Abby Hurlbert, sitting with her sister Gabby and Nicole Schaefer amongst others, who had their fair share of big, champion-style performances while they were winning State titles during their time as Golden Bears.
Would head coach Bob Mcmahon be looking to the stands as the Bears took on Naugatuck Valley foe, Sacred Heart with another trip to the Finals at Mohegan Sun on the line?
Remember, this was the year Thomaston was supposed to be vulnerable after losing Schaefer, Gabby Hurlbert and Morgan Sanson to graduation.
Only two starters returned from the team that fell to Canton in the finals a year ago, Casey Carangelo and Julia Quinn, and would they be enough to take the sleepy little town known as Thomaston on their annual pilgrimage to The Sun?
Yes, they were.
The Bears steamrolled the Hearts 61-28 behind 24 points from Quinn and 20 from Carangelo and will face Canton once again next weekend at a time and day to be determined.
Canton disposed of BL foe Housatonic by a 41-32 final Friday night, setting up what could be a dandy rematch.
Thomaston is mostly about the two stars. The one, Quinn who handles the ball and can shoot from anywhere and the center, Division I-bound Carangelo, a tough matchup for any team.
The duo scored the game’s first five points in classic fashion with Carangelo scoring inside before Quinn launched one of six made three-pointers and this one was over early with the Golden Bears up 18-5 after one.
You don’t expect a semifinal to be a blowout, but the Bears simply came out on fire.
“We were all just hitting our shots and our defense translated to our offense,” Carangelo said. “We just played so awesome, I’m so proud of everyone.”
Go back to the part of the story in which this was supposed to be a rebuilding year, considering how hard it is to get there in the first place. The seniors, though, were on a mission.
“This was our goal since early in the season.” Carangelo said. “Julia and I have talked about it and us really grinded it out tonight.”
Quinn was in a zone almost all night from beyond the three-point line and after draining one in the first quarter, added two more in both the second and third quarter, never allowing the Hearts a chance to catch their breath.
Sacred Heart did manage to get within 15 at 34-19 at the break with a better second quarter, but any hopes of a comeback were put to rest quickly with a 12-0 run to start the second half, started by Quinn and a three ball.
When a team has two top players, it’s usually up to someone else to step up and in the semis, junior Alexa Milius did just that with 10 points, including a pair of threes.
Keeping a team honest with other offensive options and Milius was up to the task on Friday night.
The guy at the helm of this consistent program, McMahon, was impressed with his team’s play down the stretch, leading to this moment.
“They have been doing all that’s necessary for the past month now,” McMahon said. “Making winning play after winning play. The kids have done a great job of one, understanding their roles and two, executing their rolls. I think that’s the sign of an awesome bunch of kids.”
So, it’s Canton/Thomaston II next weekend. The senior center is looking forward to the trip.
“I’m so excited to get back there again.” Carangelo said.
Heck these kids have been to the casino in Uncasville more than most adults.
Call up Mohegan fast if you want to get a room, the Bears and their fans are coming back.
Thomaston 61, Sacred Heart 28
At Wilby High School
Sacred Heart 5 14 5 4 28
Thomaston 18 16 19 8 61
Sacred Heart (28): Hayley Tucker 2-0-5, Victoria Santiago 1-1-3, Aamya Rivera 2-1-7, Treasure Coleman 5-0-11, Jenna Madigan 1-0-2. Totals: 11-2-28
Thomaston (61): Julia Quinn 8-2-24, Casey Carangelo 8-4-20, Alexa Sanson 1-0-2, Alexa Milius 3-2-10, Kaitlin Root 1-0-2, Camryn Capaldo 1-0-2. Totals: 22-8-61
3-pointers: (SH) Tucker, Rivera 2, Coleman. (T) Quinn 6, Milius 2, Root.