Throwback to the 2014. Thomaston 61, St Paul 57 2OT win in Class S final.

Story by John Nestor

UNCASVILLE – A senior may have led the Thomaston girls basketball team to the Class S state championship but a freshman and a sophomore made sure she didn’t have to go it alone.

Abby Hurlbert had a signature performance to cap off a special career with 23 points and three gutty free throws late in the first overtime in Saturday’s 61-57 victory over St. Paul, but freshman Casey Carangelo and sophomore Morgan Sanson came through with the kind of clutch performances you need to win a championship.

Carangelo scored 21 points and added nine rebounds and four steals while Sanson chipped in with 13 points, 13 rebounds and three steals. Only two other Bears scored in the title game and when they needed a big play Carangelo and Sanson were almost always in the middle of the action.

“They played great,” Hurlbert said of her teammates. “We wanted it so much and never quit and Morgan and Casey played awesome and helped us do it.”

Sanson didn’t have her best shooting night but found so many ways to impact the game. She was 3-of-13 from the field but had eight offensive boards and one of her hoops came with 13 seconds to play in regulation and tied the game 49-49, forcing overtime.

“We just wouldn’t quit,” Sanson said. “We’ve been down but we never gave up and we never felt like we couldn’t do it,”

In the first overtime neither team scored a field goal. St. Paul took a 52-49 lead on single free throws by three different players, the last one by Theresa Swanke, coming with six seconds to go. She missed the second and Hurlbert got to the right wing and fired up a three and was fouled on a reach in by Kelly McMahon.

Hurlbert calmly sank the biggest three free throws she has ever shot, each one had Thomaston’s title dreams riding on it and she made them all. From there, the Bears had the momentum and capitalized.

Carangelo, who scored 11 of her points in the fourth quarter and overtime, scored the first five points in the second overtime to give the Bears a 57-52 lead. She was fouled after grabbing an offensive board and made one of two from the line. Then Sanson came up with a steal and fed Carangelo for a basket to up the lead to 55-52.

Carangelo’s last basket came with 2:15 to go in the second overtime off a feed from Nicole Schaefer and gave the Bears a five-point lead.

“I didn’t expect to play this big a role at all, before the game I was really nervous,” Carangelo said. “But after the first couple of baskets we made I just said, let’s go and we put it in gear and went from there.”

While Carangelo had her case of the nerves, which is to be expected of a freshman on this stage, Sanson had seen this all before and it helped. She was a freshman starter on last season’s state finalist team and was ready for the big stage.

“It was nice coming in to know what everything was going to be like having gone through it before,” Sanson said. “I think that gave us a little edge, but they are a great team and it was a battle.”

A battle that was the first girls title game to go to overtime since 2006 and the ninth overall. Saturday’s game was also just the second girls title game in state history to go to multiple overtimes and it will always be remembered as a clutch Bears victory.

“I just can’t describe this feeling, it’s awesome.” Sanson said.

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