E.O. Smith produces stellar season, but no championship trophy

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Storrs - posted Tue., Mar. 20, 2012
Alexa Manaskie heads for the E.O. Smith basket.
Alexa Manaskie heads for the E.O. Smith basket.

For the majority of the Class L finals on March 17 at the Mohegan Sun Arena, it looked like the E.O. Smith lady Panthers would pull off the expected victory and come away with the title. E.O. Smith entered the game with a number one seed; Bacon Academy entered with a number three. E.O. opened the game with an early three-pointer, and the Panthers maintained their lead for the majority of the game. They were ahead by a score of 13-8 after one quarter, and lead by a score of 24-22 at the half.

The third quarter was slow for both teams, with the Panthers producing just five points and Bacon unable to score at all until the quarter was nearly over. With just seconds left in the third, Bacon’s Carlee Putnam hit a three-pointer, ending the quarter with E.O. Smith ahead by a score of 29-25.

But during the fourth quarter, the Panthers couldn’t get their shots to drop. With less than a minute to go in the game, Bacon’s Taylor McLaughlin broke away with a steal and a lay-up that brought her team its second lead of the game. Bacon’s Sarah Rogers put the win out of reach for the Panthers with two good free-throws with less than 30 seconds left on the clock. The final score was 38-34 Bacon.

“We shot 11-50 and didn’t score for the last 5:30 or so,” said Panthers coach Kirk Murad. “Poor execution on offense cost us the game. We played hard but just couldn’t put the ball in the basket. We settled too often for jump shots and that hurt us in the end.”

Murad pointed to the performance of Bacon’s Taylor McLaughlin, who, in addition to scoring the go-ahead basket, had two key blocks and two important jump-shots. “That was the difference,” said Murad, “they had someone step up and make plays and we didn’t match it.”

Murphy Murad led E.O. Smith with 10 points. Morgan Olander had nine blocks, seven rebounds and three points.

There are a total of six seniors on this year’s E.O. Smith girls’ basketball team: Morgan Olander, Ashley Forand, Chelsea Combs,Taylor Vonasek, Alexa Manaskie and Morgan Stewart.

 


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