Senior Delaney Connors led the way offensively with 23 points for the Chieftains.
By Marlon Pitter
The Conard High School girls’ basketball team defeated Wethersfield High School 53-44 in its home opener in West Hartford on Saturday afternoon behind a 23-point performance by senior Delaney Connors.
Connors provided the offensive jumpstart for the Chieftains, scoring the team’s first 14 points through the first and second quarters, something she said the team needed after a rough loss Monday in its season opener at E.O. Smith.
“After our first game Monday, we needed something to turn us around,” said Connors. “We played the full 32 minutes and everything, so I think it’s just a good one to have in the back of our mind to think about and know that we can do it and that we’re capable of it.”
After trailing 9-5 with 2:30 to play in the first quarter, Conard went on a 20-0 run over the next eight minutes to establish a 25-9 lead late in the second quarter, and did not trail for the rest of the game.
The Chieftains led 27-12 going into halftime, but the Eagles clawed back into the game in the second half, cutting Conard’s lead down to six, 50-44, with 2:50 to play in the fourth quarter.
Conard head coach Michael D’Angelo credited the team with making “winning basketball plays” in the final minutes to secure the victory.
“This was a team effort today, especially on the boards,” said D’Angelo. “We’re not very big and the heart they showed rebounding and the second-chance points we got, the fact that we were able to get more possessions and waste more time is huge.”
The Chieftains went 8-of-13 from the free throw line, while the Eagles made 8 of 17 free throws.
Cheyenne-Moné Smith and Alice Kelly scored in double figures for Wethersfield with 19 and 10 points, respectively. Seniors Lena Proietti and Maggie Venora each scored eight points for Conard.
Conard returns to action Monday night at home against Avon High School. Game time is set for 6:45 p.m.
“We’re gonna be sore tomorrow. This was a physical basketball game,” said D’Angelo. “[Avon is] bigger than us, so it’ll be a good matchup, but I expect these kids to come ready to play.”
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