The Conard girls’ basketball team scored 26 third-quarter points after only managing 25 total in the first half.
By Marlon Pitter
Delaney Connors knew she would have to find different ways to score when her jumper would not fall to start the game.
By halftime, she scored 10 points for Conard, six coming from free throws as she muscled her way into the paint for contested layups against crosstown rival Northwest Catholic.
Coming out of the intermission leading 25-9, the Chieftains got their offensive spark from Connors and Lena Proietti, the team’s senior captains.
Proietti drained a 3-pointer 13 seconds into the third quarter, and Connors followed with a deep ball of her own 23 seconds later to push Conard’s lead to 31-9 less than a minute in.
Connors continued to find her stroke, draining three 3-pointers and scoring 11 of her 21 points in the third quarter en route to a 64-24 victory over the Lions on their home court in West Hartford.
“I think I just need to show both sides of the game,” Connors said. “My shot wasn’t really falling in the first half, so I just kinda had to keep shooting and they finally went in.”
Both teams started as cold offensively as the outdoor temperature Saturday morning, which peaked at a chilly 12 degrees. The Chieftains were plagued by turnovers, while fouls – in addition to turnovers – were the Achilles’ heel for the Lions. Northwest Catholic committed eight fouls in the first quarter, sending Conard into the bonus for a large portion of the first half.
The Lions grabbed an early lead, up 5-1 two minutes into the first quarter, but the Chieftains closed the period on an 11-0 run to take a 12-5 lead after one.
Conard added 13 points as a team in the second quarter before more than doubling its first-half total with 26 third-quarter points. All eight of the team’s made 3-point attempts came in the second half.
“We made a few adjustments at halftime, came out [in] the second half and played much better,” Conard head coach Mike D’Angelo said. “We weren’t playing to the standard that we set for them. We let them know that at halftime, and we came out a different team.”
Freshman Azaiyah Felder made an impact of own with her athleticism, wreaking havoc on defense to force turnovers leading to fast break layups. Proietti and Felder each scored 11 in the contest.
Conard’s win brings its record to 7-1 and extends its winning streak to seven games. The Chieftains play again on Tuesday night when they face Southington High School on the road.
“Our only focus is Southington right now, and we’re gonna approach this one game at a time and see what happens,” said D’Angelo. “The approach, always, is, ‘One game at a time. We’re 0-0 today. We’re not 7-1 today. We’re 0-0 today,’ and they’re really buying into that and taking it one game at a time.”
Northwest Catholic fell to 0-8 with its loss and will host Hall High School on Tuesday night in search of its first win.
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