Clippers lose trophy rights in Classic tourney

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Putnam - posted Tue., Jan. 3, 2012
Cynthia Briere and Killingly's Jamie LeDuc get ready to battle for the rebound. Photos by D. Coffey
Cynthia Briere and Killingly's Jamie LeDuc get ready to battle for the rebound. Photos by D. Coffey

The Putnam High School girls' basketball team suffered a loss in the Clipper Classic championship game with Killingly on Dec. 28. Putnam has won nine of 11 of the tournament championship games. “We lost today, and we lost to Ellington in 2007,” said coach Willie Bousquet. “That's the way it rolls.”

Their second loss ended with a 62-49 score. It was a season high score for Putnam.

At the end of the first quarter, only one point separated the Clippers and the Redgals. In the second quarter, Killingly pulled away, shooting eight for 11, giving themselves a big 35-17 lead.

In the third quarter, the Clippers came roaring back, tightening the gap to within six. “We made up 10 points, but it just wasn't enough,” said Bousquet. “It was too much of a lead to make up.”

“I tip my hat to Killingly,” he said. “They made their shots. They shot a heck of a percentage. They were 8 for 11 in the second quarter, so they had to be over 50 percent for the whole game.”

Monica Phongsa (5-0-12), Ashley Espinosa (6-5-18), Holly Desrosiers (1-6-8) and Christie Austin (2-2-6) were team leaders for the Clippers. “Monica and Ashley did a good job; they handled the ball very well, and both of them had good games,” said Bousquet.  “The effort was there. It was just that we need to do a better job of trying not to let teams score as much. But some of the shots the Killingly team made were hard shots. I give them credit.”

The Clippers' 49 points were a season high for the team. “I can't say that we didn't perform offensively,” said Bousquet. “Most games we're going to win when we score 49 points.”

The Clippers (Constitution State Conference) and Redgals (Eastern Connecticut Conference) play in different leagues. Bousquet thought the Redgals had a tougher schedule coming into the Classic. Putnam played a league schedule and were 4-0 coming into the Classic.

“You could see it out there. The Redgals didn't get fazed out there. We got stung by all the shots they made,” Bousquet said.
After the game, winners of the All-Academic Team and All-Tourney Team were announced. Putnam's Megan Heaney, a senior, was named to the 2011 Clipper Classic All-Academic Team. Heaney is ranked sixth in her class. Ashley Espinosa and Christie Austin were named to the 2011 Clipper Classic All-Tourney Team.

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