E.O. Smith ends season with Class LL quarterfinal loss

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Storrs - posted Mon., Mar. 11, 2013
Holly Worski takes a shot for E.O. Smith during a March 9 Class LL quarterfinal game against Mercy. Photos by Melanie Savage.
Holly Worski takes a shot for E.O. Smith during a March 9 Class LL quarterfinal game against Mercy. Photos by Melanie Savage.

A 47-39 loss to Mercy, on March 9, ended a successful season for the E.O. Smith girls’ basketball team. The Panthers, playing in Class LL for the first time this year, ended their regular season with a 17-3 record and a number nine seed. For the first round of the Class LL tourney, the team faced number 24-seeded Greenwich.

“We struggled in our first round win vs. Greenwich, as Murph [senior point guard Murphy Murad] left the game with a foot injury with a 15-10 lead after the first quarter,” said head coach Kirk Murad. Murphy Murad has been a top scorer for the team this year, the top three-point shooter, and served as the team captain.

“Holly Worski was moved to the point in Murphy’s absence, thus taking away her ability to spot up and shoot when Murph breaks the defense down,” said Kirk Murad. Junior Worski is the leading scorer for this year’s team, a strong three-point shooter, and lead the team for rebounds and steals. “With Holly at the point, everyone else was playing out of position, as well,” said Murad. The team struggled, but managed to pull out a 44-39 victory for round one.

The Panthers defeated number eight-seeded Westhill for round two, with a final score of 64-51. The team made 11 out of 18 threes, with Worski, Murphy Murad and sophomore guard Cathy Aforismo all contributing. “We had made eight threes before halftime, and led 21-14 after the first quarter and 36-19 at the half,” said the coach.  “We opened a 61-39 lead in the fourth, and the final score wasn’t really indicative of how much we dominated them at times throughout the game.”

Going into the quarterfinal round, “We stand at 20-4, making this senior class the first in E.O. Smith history to win at least 20 games in all four years,” said Murad.

The Mercy Tigers had a tough time defending Worski during the first half of the game, and the teams went to the locker room at half-time with the Tigers leading by only four points. But Mercy tightened up the defense for the second half, and the Panthers had difficulty making the shots. The final score of 47-39 sent Mercy to the semifinal round, where it would face number four Glastonbury.
Freshman Isa Peczuh has been the number-three scorer for E.O. Smith this year.

Senior forward Olivia Worski “has really stepped up late in the season,” said Murad, noting that she had moved into the number four position for scoring and number two for rebounds.  “She has become a reliable post presence on offense, something we were lacking all season, and keeps possessions alive with her ability to rebound on the offensive end,” said the coach.

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