There's probably only one way for Lauralton Hall to top its performance in the SWC girls basketball championship game.
"Yeah, win a state championship," game MVP Michelle DeSantis said minutes after Lauralton Hall dominated all facets of a 74-28 victory over Notre Dame-Fairfield Friday night at Bunnell.
The top-seeded Crusaders easily defended their SWC title, leading by as many as 48 points in the fourth quarter.
"It feels awesome, it's a testament to how hard we work in practice," Fabbri said.
Friday night's win capped a grueling stretch of six games in eight days for the Crusaders, who won't play again until Friday, thanks to a first-round bye in the Class LL state tournament.
Lauralton Hall, the No. 2 seed in Class LL, hopes to avoid a repeat scenario from last season. A year ago the Crusaders (21-1) were also the No. 2 seed in the LL bracket, but were upset in the second round by East Catholic 45-43.
"We're not satisfied," Fabbri said. "We never will be. We definitely have to bring this tenacity into states and hopefully we'll come away with that."
Things started off poorly for the third-seeded Lancers (19-4) Friday and only got worse, much like it did during their 63-27 loss to the Crusaders on Jan. 4.
Less than a minute into the first quarter Notre Dame's leading scorer, Jovan Kingwood, drew a personal foul and technical foul on the same play. DeSantis hit both free throws and Fabbri followed with a 3-pointer, making it 5-0 -- setting the Crusaders well on their way to the championship game romp.
The loss put a screeching halt to Notre Dame's six-game winning streak, which included a one-point win over Brookfield in the quarterfinals and an upset of No. 2 Pomperaug in the semifinals on Wednesday. Emblematic of Notre Dame's struggles was point guard Amber James, who tallied a single basket vs. Lauralton Hall after scoring 26 points in the semifinals.
"Little by little they just imposed their will on us," Lancers coach Eric DeMarco said.
Three minutes into the second quarter Fabbri drained an NBA-range 3-pointer, kicking off a 9-0 Crusaders' run that turned a 16-6 Lauralton Hall advantage into a 25-6 margin -- all but wrapping the game up before halftime.
"They're a very talented team and sometimes you have to tip your cap and acknowledge that," DeMarco said.
Lauralton Hall added runs of 9-0 and 8-0 in the third quarter, turning the second half into something that resembled an early-season UConn women's non-conference rout.
Whatever jitters or fatigue Lauralton Hall displayed in its narrow six-point semifinal win over Kolbe Cathedral never surfaced vs. Notre Dame. Everything the Crusaders tried on offense seemed to click and on defense they forced the Lancers into 26 turnovers.
"This was one of our better performances," Lauralton Hall coach Amanda Forcucci said. "The last game against Kolbe, things didn't come easy for us. When it does like that (tonight), it looks like an easy game."
Kingwood led Notre Dame with nine points. The Lancers are the No. 2 seed in the Class M tournament and host No. 31 North Branford on Tuesday.
Amber James 1 0-0 2 Alex Danas 1 0-0 3 Tyanna Palmer 0 0-0 0 Jovan Kingwood 3 2-3 9 Aly Furgiuele 0 0-0 0 Briana Mann 2 0-0 4 McKenzie Stone 1 0-0 3 Tekarah Coward 0 0-0 0 Nakia Mabin 2 1-3 5 Cheyenne Perez 1 0-0 2 Katie Edwards 0 0-0 0 Janiya Ebron 0 0-0 0 Jasmine Fuller 0 0-0 0 Eliana Otero 0 0-0 0 Alicia Beard 0 0-0 0 Jerlisa Thomas 0 0-0 0 Totals: 11 3-6 28
LAURALTON HALL (21-1)
Emma McCarthy 6 0-1 12 Maggie Salandra 3 1-2 7 Lauren Sell 0 0-0 0 Carly Fabbri 5 4-4 17 Michelle DeSantis 6 6-7 19 Mauren Connolly 1 1-2 3 Bianca Robertson 0 2-2 2 Tanisha Clark 0 1-2 1 Emily Menedez 0 0-0 0 Emily Bozagni 0 0-0 0 Olivia Levey 6 1-1 13 Totals: 27 16-21 74
ND-FAIRFIELD 4 6 12 6--28
LAURALTON HALL 12 17 26 19--74
3-pointers: ND--Danas, Kingwood, Stone; LH--Fabbri 3, DeSantis
Technical fouls: ND--Kingwood, Mabin
Fouled out: ND--Furgiuele
All tournament team: Jasmyne Fogle (Kolbe Cathedral); Gabby Holness (Pomperaug); Kingwood (ND-Fairfield); James (ND-Fairfield); Levey (Lauralton Hall); Fabbri (Lauralton Hall); MVP: DeSantis (Lauralton Hall).