WINSTED – Despite taking control of the game late in the second quarter, the Nonnewaug Girls Basketball Team fell to top-seeded Northwestern in the Berkshire League championship game 58-41.
Trailing by nine points late in the second quarter, the Chiefs stormed back with a 10-0 run sparked by a stellar defense. Mary Bibbey had three baskets, and two layups by Maddie Woodward gave Nonnewaug a 22-21 lead with 44 seconds left in the half.
Northwestern scored five points in the last 26 seconds of the half, including a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Emma Propfe (who also hit a buzzer-beating three pointer to close out the first quarter) to take a 27-23 lead.
“We made a great run in the second quarter, we got ourselves to this game and had a chance to play for the championship,” Nonnewaug head coach Adam Brutting said. “They should be proud of themselves, but disappointed in the loss.
The Highlanders were able to make the proper halftime adjustments to pull away from Nonnewaug.“We were trying to run an offense too far away from the basket, which allows kids like Jen (Charette) and Mary, who are great athletes with length, easy steals,” said Northwestern head coach Fred Williams. “We were throwing it into their hands rather than attack the seam and then kick. The times that we did that, we got some pretty good opportunities.”
Bibbey led Nonnewaug with 16 points, Woodward scored 11, and Charette 10. Woodward had 6 rebounds, and Charette had 6 assists.
“We put up a good showing, but couldn’t connect well on offense or defend well of defense,” Charette said.
Brutting said his team must put the loss behind them and focus on its CIAC Class M opening round game Monday at North Branford. Brutting is giving the team Saturday off and the Chiefs will be in the gym to prepare Sunday for the 7 p.m. game.
“I don’t think we’re going to have any problem getting them focused,” Brutting said. “It’s okay to be disappointed, but they need to be proud of who they are as a team.”
Should Nonnewaug, the 17th seed, win at No. 16 North Branford, it is more than likely that the Chiefs will face Northwestern in the second round. It would be the fourth time this season that the Chiefs and Highlanders meet.
“We are very hyped to play North Branford in States, and possibly get a chance to play Northwestern again in the second round,” Charette said. “I do want another shot at them and we’re definitely going to get up for states. “
Nonnewaug handed Northwestern its only loss of the season back on Feb. 6.