Manchester girls beat East Catholic at the buzzer

By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Tue., Feb. 15, 2011
Manchester's Megan Cardarelli blocks East Catholic's Erin Howard. Photos by Martha Marteney.
Manchester's Megan Cardarelli blocks East Catholic's Erin Howard. Photos by Martha Marteney.

The Manchester High Schoolgirls’ basketball team took on East Catholic High School on Feb. 14 in the season’s second game between the two teams. On Feb. 9, MHS beat EC 73-68 in double overtime.

The match-up between the cross-town rivals highlights each team’s strengths, as well as their differences. EC is the taller team. On offense, EC tends to move right in, working their plays. MHS moves the ball around before charging in. Both teams play a fairly aggressive, man-on-man defense. MHS has no seniors on its team; EC has five seniors, although only three played on the starting line-up against MHS.

“You never know with girls’ basketball,” said EC coach Al Lewis, who is in his second year with the team. “We’re full speed,” he added.

By the end of the first half, MHS was ahead at 22-19. Mid-way through the third quarter, Lewis called a time-out, with MHS leading 30-22. EC came back strong, with Loren Pechesa shooting perfect lay-ups and Nicole Ferguson sinking three-pointers. Fouls were traded back and forth, with the score slowly creeping up. With two minutes to go, EC evened the score at 48-48 at the free throw line.

EC pulled ahead to lead for most of the final two minutes of the game. With only 7 seconds to go, Ferguson stayed calm at the free throw line to bring her team to the lead. Incredibly, MHS junior Meghan Cardarelli took aim for one last shot – a three-pointer – which went in at the buzzer. MHS won the game 57-54.

“I was going for it, hoping to get fouled, and I got it in,” Cardarelli said about her winning basket. “I still can’t believe it.”

“That was the best game ever,” said Arianna Rivera, of MHS.

“That’s the second game without Ashley and Garcia,” said MHS coach John Reiser. Ashley Perez was pulled for personal fouls, and Miofania Garcia has been out for part of the season due to a sprained ankle. Reiser cited three great shots in the game; Caitlyn Mockler stepping into the game with a three-point shot; Trecine Breedlove’s steal and successful shot, on which she was fouled with a knee to the thigh; and Cardarelli’s winning basket at the buzzer.

With that game, MHS ranks third in the Class LL division, with 18 wins and one loss; ECHS is ranked at 14, with 14 wins and six losses. MHS is also second in the division for scoring and first for steals. Perez is first in scoring and ranks on almost all other listings. Perez, a junior, has also scored more than 1,000 points in her high school career.

EC junior Nicole Ferguson, a forward/guard, transferred this year from Ellington, where she played on the varsity team since freshman year. “We played hard,” said Ferguson. “They’re a lot quicker than us, but we like to run our plays.”

“She stepped up strong,” Lewis said about Ferguson, “especially in the second half.”

MHS junior Mockler knew what her coach expected of her when she was sent in during the fourth quarter. “It’s usually what I have to do,” said Mockler about her three-pointer. In comparison to EC, Mockler said, “We play a tougher defense.”

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