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Defense fuels Thomaston girls past Nonnewaug, 56-36.

POSTED January 20, 2016
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

WOODBURY: We’ve been through this enough over the last three years with a team that will never win on style points, but always seems to find a way to win.

We should be used to it.

It happened again on Tuesday night in the battle of the unbeaten teams of the Berkshire League, Thomaston and Nonnewaug. And once again, the team that wears the brown came away with a defensively fueled, 56-36 victory of the Chiefs.

Defense wins championships. Thomaston is getting better and better on that end of the court.

That can’t bode well for the rest of the BL as we round the corner and head into the second half of the 2015-2016 campaign.

“We’ve been showing up on defense, that’s for sure,” Bears head coach Bob McMahon said, “With the exception of that game in the Christmas Tournament (a loss to New London) or even the Mills game that we had to scratch and claw, we certainly did it with our defense. Tonight was no different. They are good, Courtney (Carlson) has gotten a ton better and we have a lot of respect for her.”

The Chiefs bring a 1,000-point scorer to the table in Carlson, but the Bears bring a ferociousness on the defensive end that would make their namesake proud with its relentlessness.

Was the plan to utilize just one player on the talented leader of the now 9-1 Chiefs?

“Honestly, it’s kind of next guy up with that,” McMahon said. “Morgan (Sanson) wanted the assignment as usual, that’s her M.O. If Morgan needs a break then it’s Chuck (Charlotte Eberhardt) ready to mix it up, or if Casey is a better matchUP, then it’s her.”

Carlson scored a team-high 13, but just four in the first half when the visitors turned a 10-9 first quarter lead into a 32-17 halftime lead that they never gave up.

It was team defense at its finest.

“On any possession you’re going to guard two or three guys,” McMahon said. “And I think we do a heck of a job doing that. With helping and scrambling and talking to one another.”

It took the Bears a little while to crank the offensive engine up, but with help from the defense, the pump was primed and like they say, practice makes perfect.

“We weren’t even pretty in transition,” McMahon said. “But we had so many darn opportunities out there to get it right that we got it right enough times.”

Morgan Sanson and Casey Carangelo led the Bears offense with 17 each, AND Carangelo scored 10 of the team's 18 points in the opening quarter.

Holding Carlson down was a key for Thomaston and it led to better execution overall.

“Today our team defense just kind of united us,” Sanson said. “It helped us to play better overall. I think that’s how we got going as a team with help defense the entire night on Carlson, who’s a great player.”

Down 15 starting the second half, Nonnewaug went to their star early and often in the third with the first four possessions going through the senior center.

The Chiefs would get within 11 at 45-34 with 6:00 minutes to go in the fourth, but the Bears would close the game out on an 11-2 run.

Thomaston and Nonnewaug meet again this season in the last game of the regular season in Thomaston. The Bears have grabbed the lead in the BL at this point, but eight more games are on the docket before that date.

Thomaston 56, Nonnewaug 36

Thomaston (56): Julia Quinn 2-0-4, Nicole Schaefer 1-0-3, Gabrielle Hurlbert 2-0-5, Morgan Sanson 8-1-17, Charlotte Eberhardt 1-1-3, Samantha Brostek 3-0-7, Casey Carangelo 7-3-17: Totals: 24-5-56

Nonnewaug (36): Mary Bibbey 3-0-7, Jennie Wingard 1-0-2, Jen Charette 3-2-9, Courtney Carlson 6-0-13, Deanna Maurice 1-2-5: Totals: 14-4-36

3-pointers: (T) Schaefer, Hurlbert, Brostek, (N): Bibbey, Charette, Carlson

Records: Thomaston 10-1, Nonnewaug 9-1

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