RHAM ends hot season with semifinal loss

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Hebron - posted Mon., Mar. 11, 2013
Sarah Veilleux is blocked by Farmington's Brittany Belisle. Photos by Melanie Savage.
Sarah Veilleux is blocked by Farmington's Brittany Belisle. Photos by Melanie Savage.

With a 61-52 loss against Farmington in the Class L semifinals on March 9, the RHAM girls’ basketball team ended a 21-3 season. The Sachems ended the regular season with an 18-2 record and a number six seed. Round one of the tourney was an easy victory, with an 82-51 win over number 27-seeded North Haven.

For round two, the Sachems faced number 11 seed, East Lyme. “East Lyme was a very good team,” said head coach Tim Guernsey. “We were down 6-9 after the first quarter; they played a 1-3 zone, match up man against Sarah [Veilleux], something we had not seen all year.” Though the score was as close as 47-40 midway through the fourth quarter, the Sachems pulled out a victory against East Lyme with a 56-48 final.

RHAM faced number three-seeded Berlin in the quarterfinal round. “They were very physical and defensively very tough,” said Guernsey. At halftime the game, was 25-19 Berlin. “The way they shot the ball, we were fortunate to only be down six points at the half,” said Guernsey.  With 12.7 seconds on the clock, the Sachems were down by three points. “Sarah hit the three to tie the game with 1.6 seconds left in the fourth quarter,” said Guernsey. In overtime, the Sachems went on an 11-0 run to end the game with a 65-53 final.

Going into the semifinal game, Guernsey acknowledged that Farmington would be a tough opponent. “We played them the first game of the season and won 46-45 at their place,” he said. The Sachems faced Farmington again for the quarterfinal round of the CCC tournament, and lost by a final score of 46-57. “They are a very physical team,” said Guernsey. “The team that is playing the best at this time will win the game. We need to make sure we protect the basketball and rebound on both ends of the floor.”

But the Sachems weren’t nearly aggressive enough during the early part of the semifinal game against Farmington, rescheduled due to snow to March 9 at Bulkeley High School. They weren't going after the rebounds, they weren't playing a physical game, and RHAM trailed by 43-20 with less than two minutes to go in the third. At that point, the Sachems finally began to put on the pressure, becoming much more aggressive during the final quarter of the game. But it was too big a hole to climb out of. Despite cutting the lead to 46-41 midway through the fourth, the Sachems ended the season with a 61-52 loss to Farmington.

RHAM junior guard Sarah Veilleux currently ranks as the number-one scorer in the state. She also ranks number one for free-throws, number three for rebounds and number nine for steals. RHAM freshman Sierra Stone ranks number three for assists.


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