Schaefer finds her range, Thomaston wins 4th straight BL Tournament title.
WINSTED: I wish I had said it, but to be honest with you, I didn’t.
After the Thomaston girls’ basketball team finished cutting down the nets, celebrating their fourth consecutive Berkshire League Tournament Title, a fan came up to Bears head coach Bob McMahon and told him that his team spends more time on ladders than painters.
Great line and remarkably true. Good thing most of them are not afraid of heights. They're each in the process of making their own net out of the remnants.
On Friday night, they disposed of Nonnewaug by a 56-36 final to get some more hardware for this simply remarkable program that finds ways to get it done.
It’s not really Bear time yet, the big ones are still sleeping off this miserable winter, but the Golden Bears, the ones that don’t always look pretty getting it done, are starting to awaken at just the right time.
On Bear in particular, Nicole Schaefer stretched and found the range on her three-point shot, something that had been in hibernation for most of the season and used it to connect on four, three during the second quarter alone when Thomaston pushed aside a pesky Chiefs team that led by a point after one at 15-14.
Over the next three quarters though, Nonnewaug would connect on just six more baskets and score just 21 points.
“We were ready to play,” Thomaston sophomore Casey Carangelo (16 points) said. “We knew that it was a big game and we just fought it out.”
One of the missing ingredients to this team that won the regular season and Berkshire League title was a consistent outside shooting threat.
Schaefer had been one of those weapons a year ago, but had struggled so far this season.
Shooters shoot, though and with the help and encouragement of her teammates and coaches, the junior guard kept working on her game and it paid off in the second quarter.
“My confidence definitely went up tonight,” Schaefer said. “I was struggling a little bit over the past few games when I didn’t make that many, but I got one down and then my team always lifts me up.”
Nonnewaug had used the long ball twice themselves in the first quarter, one by Olivia Morgan the other by Deanna Maurice to counter a fast 5-0 start by the defending Class S champs.
Morgan would make another for her team’s first points of the second quarter that gave them an 18-16 lead, but after a bucket by Morgan Sanson (game high 17), Schaefer found her range.
“Nicole did awesome,” Carangelo said. “She shot the lights out and we knew that she could do it. We told her that we had faith in her.”
The Chiefs would score just seven points in the second quarter and shots that were falling in the first quarter never found the range again, while Schaefer was just getting started.
She would end the game with 14 critical points, becoming that third weapon behind Carangelo and Sanson.
“Nicky always has the green light,” McMahon said. “There’s never a time that we don’t want her launching that. It takes the pressure off Morgan and Casey.”
In winning this fourth straight BL crown, the Bears got star performances from battle tested veterans like Sanson who works as hard as any player on any court.
“I thought Morgan had a real hard-hat performance tonight,” McMahon said. “I don’t know what she ended up with, but she was just a tough guy. When Morgan plays like a tough guy, we’re tough to beat.”
Are the Bears back to where the coaching staff wants them to be?
“We talked about it all week,” McMahon said. “That’s more like Thomaston basketball, right there. That’s what it’s supposed to be like.”
“It ain’t about being pretty, it’s about winning.”
Thomaston 56, Nonnewaug 36
Nonnewaug 15 7 6 8 36
Thomaston 14 16 16 10 56
Nonnewaug (36): Courtney Carlson 3-5-11, Jess Fengler 4-1-9, Olivia Morgan 2-0-6, Deanna Maurice 1-0-3, Sarah Schivera 1-3-5, Mary Bibbey 1-0-2 Totals: 12-9-36
Thomaston (56): Casey Carangelo 7-2-16, Morgan Sanson 6-4-17, Julia Quinn 1-0-3, Gabby Hurlbert 1-0-2, Nicole Schaefer 4-2-14, Sam Brostek 1-0-2, Charlie Eberhardt 1-0-2 Totals: 21-8-56
Three Pointers: N-Morgan 2, Maurice. T-Sanson, Quinn, Schaefer 4