WOODBURY – There’s an old sports cliché that says it’s hard to beat the same team three times in one season.
Despite a strong Thomaston first-quarter, the third time was not the charm for the Bears. Third-seeded Nonnewaug rebounded from its slow start to defeat sixth-seeded Thomaston 40-30 in its Berkshire League quarterfinal game.
Nonnewaug defeated Thomaston 42-33 just two nights earlier, which made Nonnewaug’s job even tougher on Saturday.
“Going into this, we knew whatever we did well, they were going to focus on shutting down,” said Nonnewaug senior co-captain Mary Bibbey, who led the Chiefs with 14 points and four assists and was 7-for-8 from the free throw line. “We had to build on our weaknesses and do the things they wouldn’t expect, and that was the key to why we won.”
Thomaston led 13-7 after one quarter, but Nonnewaug had a strong second-quarter showing to tie the game at the half at 18.
Emily Root hit a three-pointer to open the second half for Thomaston, but Nonnewaug went on a 12-0 run to put the game out of reach 30-21. During the run, Maddie Woodward and Tori MacLean each scores four points, and Bibbey and Jen Charette each scored two.
Nonnewaug head coach Adam Brutting credited his Thomaston counterpart, Robert McMahon, for the adjustments he made to wreak havoc on the Chiefs. Thomaston’s Alexa Milius’s assignment was to slow down Bibbey and Charette, and did an excellent job making the rest of the Chiefs step up their games.
In particular, Brutting was impressed with Woodward’s performance. Woodward scored 11 points and had 10 rebounds.
“Maddie Woodward stepped up big today, rebounding the basketball, getting to loose balls, finishing inside.” Brutting said. “She did a fantastic job.”
Brutting also credited the play of sophomore Abby Scheurich, who came off the bench on the second half to spell senior Isabella Mancini in the middle.
“She was awesome. In six minutes she had five boards,” Brutting said. “She’s developed over the season because of hard work, and she seized the moment.”
Nonnewaug will hope the third-time-is-a-charm rule will work in its favor on Tuesday. The Chiefs face second-seeded Housatonic Regional in the Berkshire League semifinals.
Housatonic also finished 13-7 in the regular season. However, Housatonic defeated Nonnewaug 39-25 on December 20, and 48-29 on January 19.
The game will be played Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Thomaston.
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