Fairfield Warde girls basketball snaps skid with OT win over Bridgeport Central
Entering Friday's game with Bridgeport Central, the Fairfield Warde girls basketball team was desperate for a win.
It took 42 minutes, and some serious growing up, but the Mustangs finally snapped their five-game losing streak by beating the Hilltoppers 69-60 in double overtime at Fairfield Warde High School.
"They responded with desire and effort," Warde Head Coach Dave Danko said of his squad. "Hopefully we can build off of this."
Warde played the majority game without leading scorer Alex Aufiero, who did not return for the second half after a head injury. The senior guard amassed just one point for the game.
But the Mustangs got a career-high 28 points from center Brielle Lanese and 12 points apiece from senior captain Ali Rocchi and Carly Mappa as Warde overcame a 12-point deficit with just over five minutes left in the game.
"I've asked them to grow up quickly," Danko said. "They definitely responded. We're hoping to use this as a building block."
Warde allowed the Hilltoppers to get back into the game at the end of the first, as the score was 17-12 after one quarter. Central took control of the game by outscoring Warde, 19-10 in the second, grabbing a 31-27 lead over the Mustangs at halftime.
Central came out in the third quarter on a roll and enhanced its lead over Warde to 46-38. Lanese scored seven of her 28 in the third quarter and notched 18 of her 28 after the halftime intermission.
Still, the Hilltoppers went on an 8-2 run between the late third and early fourth quarters spearheded by Erica Allen's four points. Six of Allen's eight points came in the third quarter and after Natalie McLaughlin (17 points) made a layup, the Mustangs were up 12.
Warde didn't quit though. Rocchi scored back-to-back baskets to cut the lead to eight. Lanese made a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 50-44.
Central struggled from the foul line, making just one attempt in the final two minutes. Warde used Central's failed foul shooting to its benefit, closing regulation with a 9-1 run, with baskets by Mappa, Rocchi and Kerrigan, to force overtime.
"They're working hard," Danko said. "I'm trying to get them to believe that they're not as bad as they think they are."
After a 5-5 first overtime period, the Mustangs sprinted out of the box in the second OT, outscoring Central 9-0, to get their first win since Dec. 22.
"I believe that my kids had more in the tank than the Central girls," Danko said. "My kids knew that they drew blood and they wanted this game."
Warde played again last night against Brien McMahon in a game that was too late for press time. The Mustangs are hoping that they'll stay hot tomorrow as they host Westhill tomorrow night at 5:15 p.m.