Windham girls earn a trip to the Sun

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Windham - posted Tue., Mar. 15, 2011
(Left) Windham High School's Taylor McBride goes up for a shot. (Right) Justine Lambert embraces her teammate, Carlee Smith, after their win. The WHS girls' basketball team plays for the championship this weekend at Mohegan Sun. Photos by Melanie Savage.
(Left) Windham High School's Taylor McBride goes up for a shot. (Right) Justine Lambert embraces her teammate, Carlee Smith, after their win. The WHS girls' basketball team plays for the championship this weekend at Mohegan Sun. Photos by Melanie Savage.

With an exciting, come-from-behind, edge-of-your seat overtime win on March 14 at Coventry High School, the Windham High School girls’ basketball team earned a chance to play for the Class M state championship title at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Number two-seeded Windham defeated number six-seeded Tolland with a final score of 67-64.

For a while, it looked like it was going to be a Tolland rout. From the tip-off, the Windham Whippets were outsized and out-powered by the Eagles. The Eagles maintained their lead for the majority of the game, with their star player, junior Kristen Schatzlein, leading her team. By the half, Tolland was ahead by a score of 34-19. By the fourth quarter, they’d increased their lead to 47-29. It looked like it might be the end of the season for Windham.

But with increased pressure on Schatzlein, the Whippets started to chip away at the Tolland lead in the fourth quarter. Senior Carlee Smith, whose shooting percentage was down early in the game, started to hit her mark. Senior Haley Mather scored 10 points in the final quarter. Tolland wasn’t making shots from the foul line. With less than a minute on the clock, senior Danyelle Rodriguez tied the game with a two-pointer, to make the score 59-59.

Mather was the first to score in the extra period, to take the Whippets ahead, 61-59. With less than a minute left in overtime, Schatzlein was sent to the foul line. She sank her first attempt but missed her second, bringing the score to 61-60. After several trips to the foul line and a basket by Tolland, and the score was again tied. But a three-pointer by Rodriguez and two successful free throws by Taylor McBride sealed the win for Windham at 67-64.

“We just had great contributions from a lot of different people tonight, which makes it even more special,” said Windham coach Ken Valliere. “This is one of the best wins we’ve ever had.”

Windham(number two seed) will face Weaver (number 21) in the championship game on either March 18 or 19. Visit the website www.casicac.org for details.


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