Windham falls to Bacon in ECC finals

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Windham - posted Sun., Feb. 27, 2011
Carlee Smith of WHS heads for the basket in the Feb. 23 game, guarded by Plainfield's Mindy Parker. Photos by Melanie Savage.
Carlee Smith of WHS heads for the basket in the Feb. 23 game, guarded by Plainfield's Mindy Parker. Photos by Melanie Savage.

A jubilant Taylor McBride embraced her teammates after the Windham High School girls’ basketball team’s 67-47 win against Plainfield in the semifinal round of the Eastern Connecticut Conference tourney on Feb. 23 at Norwich Free Academy.

McBride was all over the court during a game dominated by the Whippets. She set the pace for a quick game that disrupted Plainfield’s offense from the outset. “I try to keep a fast pace, because everybody out there is fast,” said McBride. “I had to keep pumped for our team. If we’re pumped now, hopefully we’ll stay pumped for finals.”

The Whippets took on undefeated Bacon Academy in the tournament finals on Feb. 25 at NFA. Senior guard Carlee Smith was Windham’s top scorer against Bacon, with a total of 24 points. “She was the best player on the floor, hands-down,” said coach Ken Valliere. “And McBride controls the tempo.”

Windham entered the game with an 18-3 record, having lost to Bacon twice already this year. Both games were close; on Dec. 17, Bacon won by a final score of 61-57, and on Jan. 28 the final was 64-60. On paper, the teams looked fairly even. Windham had an average points-per-game record of 59.3 to Bacon’s 61.9. Windham was allowing an average of 38.2 points per game to Bacon’s 36.3.

The WHS Whippets were making their first-ever trip to the conference finals. But the first quarter started out badly, with the Whips finding themselves behind by as many as 16 points. Windham kept up the pressure, several times bringing the score to within two points of the Bobcats. But with a final score of 57-46, the Bacon Bobcats took home their first ECC championship title in program history.

Top producers for the Whips in the final were: Danyelle Rodriguez, with 12 points, Haley Mathe, with 11 points, Taylor McBride, with eight points, and Ali Risley, with five points.

In the state tournament, second-seeded Windham was scheduled to take on number 31 seed Watertown at home on March 1 at 7 p.m. Round two will be played on March 4 at 7 p.m. Visit www.casciac.org for complete bracket listings for the state tourney.


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