By PHIL BRODSKY
Orange Live Sports Writer
On paper, Tuesday night’s Southern Connecticut Conference inter-divisional girls’ basketball game between Amity and Jonathan Law seemed to be a huge mismatch. Amity came into the contest with a glossy 7-1 record, riding the crest of a six game winning streak. On the other side of the court, Law was winless in all eight of its outings this winter. Included in that 0-8 record was a December 12th 49-38 loss to the Lady Spartans. Basketball games are however, played on a court not on paper. Despite the huge difference in the two teams’ records and the outcome of their previous meeting, Law played its best game of the season and pulled off a huge upset by defeating Amity 51-47 at the Golden Eagles’ James Richetelli Gymnasium in Milford. It was the first time this winter that Amity had allowed a team to score more than 40 points.
“Law played well. They are well coached and worked hard tonight while we didn’t show up to play. We played without Mikala Schmitt, who was injured, but we also missed a lot of lay-ups and free throws. We never got into any rhythm tonight,” Amity Coach Michelle Martinik said.
Except for the first half of the second quarter, the Golden Eagles were in full control. First quarter scores by Catie Miller, Erin Saley, and Laura Dulin staked Law to a 10-6 lead.
After an opening session during which they hit only four of 19 shots and committed nine turnovers, Amity caught fire at the outset of the second session. Following an early lay-up by Molly Ronan (who ended with a game-high 24 points and 13 rebounds) Chloe Brinton dropped in four drives. Included in that 2 minute, 30 second outburst, were a steal by Janae Graham that Brinton converted into two points and a pin point pass from Graham that set up another easy Brinton score. Brinton’s offensive flurry gave the Lady Spartans a 19-14 lead with 5:02 left in the first half.
While the Devonites were outscored 10-2 during that nearly three minute run by Amity, they quickly struck back with an 11-2 response that featured a three point play by Samantha Murphy and a three point field goal by Laura Dulin. That response put Law back on top 25-21 with 1:18 to go in the first half.
Ronan’s base line put-back at the 14 second mark drew the Lady Spartans back within two points (28-26) but Catie Miller responded with a short pop that enabled the Eagles to walk off with a 30-26 halftime lead.
While Amity stayed close throughout the second half, Law never lost its lead. When Brinton netted another drive and added a free throw, Amity crept back within a point (36-35) with 35 seconds left in the third quarter; Jenna Bernard answered with consecutive jumpers in the final 15 seconds to put her team in front 40-35.
Martinik added, “Every time we got close, they hit a three or a free throw. We were never able to get over the hump.
Trailing 46-41 with 2:10 left to play, Amity once again got back within a point (46-45) when on consecutive lay-ups from Brinton and Graham, but Law answered with Dulin canning four free throws and Murphy added another freebie. Trailing 51-45, Amity added a score from the paint by Ronan (off an assist from Graham) with five seconds to go, but Law hung on for the win.
Clearly delighted with her team’s first victory of the season, Law Coach Heather Borges said, “From the bench to the floor, we played like a team for the first time this year. We have a young team and it had to learn how to play together as a team. When everyone contributes and does their job, we showed tonight that we can be a tough team to beat. We had far fewer turnovers (16), did better from the foul line (15 of 24), and communicated much better tonight. We were not intimidated by Amity or its defensive pressure. We came to play basketball tonight so we were able to maintain our lead and record a vitally important win.”
In addition to Ronan’s career-high 24 points, Brinton added 14. Dulin rang up 16 points and Murphy chipped in with 12 points for the Golden Eagles. Amity tallied 20 field goals while Law netted only 17 but the winners were 15 of 24 from the charity stripe and Amity netted only seven of 15.
Borges added, “My girls have worked hard all season but still lost a lot of close games. They did what they had to do tonight and finally, they can feel the rewards of all their hard work.”
The 7-2 Lady Spartans return home to host Housatonic Division rival, Lyman Hall Friday night at 7.