Killingly girls' basketball team takes Clipper Classic trophy

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Killingly - posted Tue., Jan. 3, 2012
Devin Hill brings the ball downcourt against Ashley Espinosa. Photos by D. Coffey.
Devin Hill brings the ball downcourt against Ashley Espinosa. Photos by D. Coffey.

The Killingly High School Redgals walked off the court with their first Clipper Classic championship trophy on Dec. 28. They beat the Putnam High School Clippers by a score of 62-49.

The Redgals and Clippers ended the first quarter neck-and-neck, with an 11-12 score. It was the only time that Putnam led in the game. In the second quarter, the Redgals went on a shooting streak, hitting eight for 11 and leaving the Clippers with a 35-17 deficit by the half. The Clippers climbed back to within six points in the third quarter, but the Redgals kept the intensity up and never relinquished their lead.

“Putnam is a good team,” said coach Mark Lowell. “We couldn't let them come back. They were going to make the shots. We did what we were supposed to do.”

The first-year coach couldn't have been happier with the win. His Redgals came into the tournament with a 3-4 record. “Winning four games in a row hasn't happened in a long time,” he said. “Winning a tournament like this has never happened. This is a huge turnaround. This is big for our program.”

Devin Hill (7-4-20), Alicia Giambattista (4-4-12), Drew Johndrow (4-4-12), Taylor Sarty (2-4-10) and Jamie LeDuc (3-2-8) led Killingly to victory. Hill has been a major force on the team for years, but Lowell sees the other players stepping up. “They're starting to believe in themselves,” he said. “Their confidence is getting there.”

Lowell said he challenged his team at the beginning of the year. “You can leave Killingly High School as the team that didn't win anything, or you can erase all that, because if you turn this around, no one is going to remember the bad times,” he said.

Senior Alicia Giambattista was awarded an All-Academic Team plaque for being the highest-ranking student on the team. She and Jamie LeDuc were also recognized as All-Tourney Team members. Senior Devin Hill was awarded the 2011 Citizen's National Bank Outstanding Player Award.

When the Clipper Classic championship trophy was presented to the Redgals at the end of the game, captains Giambattista, Hill and Renee Lawlor held onto it for a team photo. “They stuck it out for three years,” Lowell said. “They took the zero wins. They took the hard knocks.”

Now they can say they helped bring the Clipper Classic championship trophy home.

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