West Hartford’s Hall High School hosted crosstown rival Conard in girls basketball on Wednesday night.
By Ronni Newton
The Conard girls were leading by just three points when the teams headed to the locker room at halftime, but a third-quarter surge and 23 second-half points from sophomore Callie Cosgrove sealed a decisive 55-25 win for the Red Wolves.
“She is vivacious,” Conard head coach Laurie Cersosimo said of Cosgrove. “She just has an incredible work ethic, no matter who we’re playing. I’m most proud of her leadership tonight.”
Cersosimo said Cosgrove’s 35 points were a season-best, but she actually had a higher-scoring game last year. No other Conard players hit double digits, but sophomore Nicole Gorman and senior Clara Gaglioti each had 5 points in Wednesday night’s win.
The Red Wolves led by 11 after the first frame, but the Titans narrowed the lead in the second quarter after a 3-pointer from freshman Anya Leshem and a basket at the buzzer by junior Maddie Maxwell. The score was 21-18 at the half, but her team came back out to the court flat, first-year Hall head coach Ernestine Faienza said.
“I think our defense just broke down in the second half,” she said. “We went away from what was working. We stopped passing the ball.”
In the first half, the Titans were able to contain Cosgrove, holding her to 4 points in the second quarter. In the third quarter Cosgrove had 14. “That was the turning point for us,” Faienza said.
Free throw shooting was also a major factor, she said. Hall was 8 for 25 at the line, while Cosgrove made all 17 of her free throw attempts.
Cersosimo said she told her team at half time that they needed to focus on the little things. “I think that they are young and sometimes we don’t do the little things we need to do. … Tonight we just lost sight of that [in the first half]. Hall came out and they were aggressive. It was a good game.”
Conard (9-2) played Tuesday night, defeating Southington 56-37 and will host 9-1 Simsbury on Friday afternoon at 3:45 p.m. “Looking forward to Friday,” Cersosimo said.
“I’m extremely proud of them. Our first half was awesome,” Faienza said. “This was like two different teams, but we’re trying to put four quarters of basketball together, and we’re hopeful that as the season progresses we’ll able to do that. We’re young.”
Freshman Leah Berey led Hall’s scoring with 7 points, while Leshem, senior Dynesty Johnson, and Maxwell each added 5.
Hall (1-8), will host New Britain – Faienza’s hometown team – on Friday at 6:45 p.m.
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