By PHIL BRODSKY
Orange Live Sports Writer
Tenacious, aggressive, ferocious, intense—take your pick. Each of those adjectives (and many more) could be used to describe the type of defense played by the Amity girls basketball team in Thursday night’s 44-29 victory over Branford in a Southern Connecticut Conference inter-divisional battle that was played in Woodbridge. In addition to limiting the 7-7 Hornets to their second lowest offensive output of the season, (last month, they scored only 27 against Norwalk), the Lady Spartans (now 10-4) allowed them to take only 39 shot and connect on just 12 (31%). Amity (16 of 47 from the floor ––34%) also outrebounded Branford 41-27.
“Tonight, things came together defensively,” said Amity coach Michelle Martinik. “I’ve been telling my girls that I want them to focus on each of our opponent’s possessions, contest every shot, and battle for every rebound. We did rebound well tonight. It’s tough to win if you don’t outrebound the other team.”
While she was scoreless, Kristen Post grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds and Mikala Schmitt hauled in 8 rebounds as well as dropping in 14 points. In addition to her six rebounds, Chloe Brinton also dropped in 14 points.
According to Martinik, “Mikala does a nice job under the glass. In addition to playing the post, she’s always in the right position for rebounds. She also wants and fights for every ball. With her speed and size (5-feet 11-inches) it’s tough for opposing teams to match up with her.”
Branford scored first on Hannah Zampano’s jumper from the side of the lane. It would prove to be the Hornets’ first, last, and only lead of the night. Lay-ups by Janae Graham and Sarah Rives were sandwiched around a bucket from Brinton to give Amity a 6-2 lead with five minutes to go in the first period, a lead that it never gave up. Elise Graham bagged a jumper with seven seconds left and the Lady Spartans led 12-7. When Schmitt drove the base line and scored with 3:04 left in the first half, the Black and Gold had its biggest lead, 23-15. They would prove to be the final points of the first half.
Janae Graham swished a three ball with 3:28 to go in the third quarter, extending the Lady Spartans’ advantage to 11 points (28-17). Gabrielle Melgar’s drive at 5:19 was followed by Zampano’s three point play at 4:30 that cut the spread back to six points (28-22) but they would be the last field goals the Hornets would score in the third quarter. With Brinton draining a three ball from deep in the corner at 3:28, Amity closed the period with an 8-1 run and a 36-23 lead—a lead that was extended to 15 points (44-29) when Brinton drew down the curtain by by sinking three late free throws in a rather uneventful fourth quarter.
“We focus on every game but it was nice to get our 10th win of the season. The wins are good as they help us improve our ranking for States,” Martinik said.
Zampano led the Hornets with 14 points.
Amity visits Lyman Hall Monday at 7 p.m.