POSTED March, 16, 2013, BY
UNCASVILLE - Thomaston brought a lot of fight to Mohegan Sun, but Capital Prep had too much game.
The Golden Bears' tournament run came to an end Saturday as top-seeded Capital Prep used a fast start to win the Class S state title with an 84-55 victory over Thomaston at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Thomaston had an uphill fight on its hands from the start facing the state's top team. The Trailblazers had ripped through Class S leading up to the final and asserted themselves with an 11-0 run to close the first quarter.
The Bears were just 2-of-8 from the field with nine turnovers in the opening quarter while the Trailblazers shot 50 percent (10-of-20) to open up a 23-5 lead.
"It was a perfect storm of things we couldn't afford to have happen to start the game," Thomaston coach Bob McMahon said. "They get a couple and-ones and hit a three right off the bat, great, now what, we have to deal with the big kid."
The big kid was sophomore Kiah Gillespie, who finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Trailblazers. Capital Prep also got strong games from Shaquana Edwards with 18 points and Desiree Elmore with 13 and 11 rebounds.
"We did what we had to do. We expected to win but came in knowing we had to play the game and play well," Capital Prep coach Tammy Millsaps said. "We got up in passing lanes and played tough defense."
The defense made things tough on Thomaston as the Bears had to start their offense out higher than they were used to and open shots were hard to come by. Prep led 43-16 at the half and only Abby Hurlbert was able to get going for Thomaston with 10 points.
Maggie Eberhardt, Thomaston's go-to player all season was scoreless in the first half and Morgan Sanson was the only other player other than Hurlbert to make a field goal in the opening 16 minutes.
"They had talented players and we knew they were going to go on some runs," Eberhardt said. "It's hard with a team like that, they are so long and quick it makes things tough."
The game was essentially decided at the half but one thing about the Bears is they have played hard all season and to their credit they did the same Saturday.
Hurlbert went right at Gillespie on a number of occasions and hit a pair of threes from behind the WNBA line in the second half. Hurlbert finished with a game-high 28 points to go along with 10 rebounds while Eberhardt and Sanson both added 11.
"It was our last game of the season and I wanted to play hard," Hurlbert said. "I really wanted to play hard for the seniors, they are the best."
Those seniors, Eberhardt and Sydney Keith were instrumental in getting Thomaston here and will be missed while returners like Hurlbert and Sanson give the Bears a lot to look forward to, especially with how they played in the second half.
Capital Prep outscored Thomaston 41-39 in the second half while the Bears held the Trailblazers to 37 percent shooting (10-of-27).
"Somebody said that basketball reveals character and the second half revealed ours," McMahon said. "The way we closed it out shows what these kids are all about."