Lady Knights' great season ends two games too soon

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Ellington - posted Fri., Mar. 11, 2011
Ellington senior Julie Gage gets vertical for a bucket in the Knights' quarterfinal loss to Weaver on March 10. Photos by Steve Smith.
Ellington senior Julie Gage gets vertical for a bucket in the Knights' quarterfinal loss to Weaver on March 10. Photos by Steve Smith.

After winning the NCCC tournament and then taking out Ledyard and Nonnewaug (by 26 and 36 points, respectively) the Lady Knights basketball team of Ellington High School had their aim set on a state Class M title, but the Weaver Beavers (yes, that’s really their nickname), despite being a 21-seed compared to Ellington’s #4, had something to say about that.

The Beavers got out to an early lead, and at one point led by 15 in the first quarter. Ellington chipped away, and only trailed by seven at halftime.

But, the Beavers jumped ahead again, and quickly led by 17 early in the third quarter. Ellington was able to close the gap to single digits, but couldn't narrow it any further, and ultimately lost, 69-55.

“They could out-jump us,” said coach Lauren Lovetere. “We couldn't jump with them. At times it looked like they could outrun us, but I think we could run with them, but they got every rebound. They tipped everything that was even remotely in the air.”

The Knights will lose seniors Claudia Perez and Julie Gage, but will see 1,000-pointer Kelly Conley return at point guard, as well as a strong supporting cast of juniors, sophomores and freshmen next year.

Lovetere said losing Gage's height and rebounding at forward will be tough to replace.

“Losing Julie will be huge,” she said. “She's been a force all season.”

Perez, who has an aggressive but smart style, will also be missed.

“Claudia had fantastic NCCC and state tournaments,” Lovetere said. “She stepped up with double digits in most of those games.”

Naturally disappointed, Lovetere said her team accomplished more this season than anyone thought they would.

“We’re still NCCC champs,” she said. “Weaver can't take that away from us. I think we thought we'd make it further after that.”

Lovetere also complimented Weaver. “They are definitely not a 21 seed,” she said. “They deserve more credit than that.”


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