The Hall High School girls basketball team hosted Windsor in West Hartford Tuesday night.
By Paul Palmer
On paper it was a solid matchup between undefeated Windsor and one-loss Hall on Tuesday night. But as they say, they don’t play the games on paper as a four-point second quarter doomed a scrappy Hall, 54-43.
In a battle between two teams nicknamed the Warriors, the hosts opened with one of their best periods of basketball this season. After an exchange of early baskets, Windsor’s quick hands and pressure defense was forcing turnovers that led to a 7-6 lead halfway through the first.
Hall – playing without key player Abby Magendantz – was not going to give anything to Windsor, as exemplified by Lydia Poulin standing tall in the lane and taking the hard charge to deny a basket. Hall would convert on the ensuing possession and take a 10-9 lead with 2:21 to go.
The host Warriors would use 3s from Julia Zydanowicz and McKenzie Mandyck – a weapon they excelled at in the quarter – in the final minute to claim at 16-15 lead after the first 8 minutes.
“We were tough in the first,” said Hall head coach Brittany Huggins. “We attacked on offense.”
As the second quarter opened, Windsor adjusted its defense and that put an end to the 3-point train for Hall. The lack of good scoring chances, and steady pressure from Windsor’s defense turned a Hall 1-point lead into a 5-point deficit just 1:40 into the second.
Mandyck would find Lydia Poulin for the backdoor basket and Hall was down just 3, but coming out of a timeout, Rebecca Fraley scored for Windsor, and Ayanna Franks converted on a drive to push it to a 10-point lead for Windsor halfway into the second.
“They extended their zone defense in the second and caused us not to be as aggressive,” said Huggins. Windsor extended their lead to 12 at the half, outscoring Hall 17-4 in the second.
Just three players – Franks, Fraley, and Nylah Wells – scored 31 of Windsor’s 32 points.
The third quarter played out a lot like the first. A combination of missed shots and an aggressive defense by Hall held Windsor scoreless for the first 5:05 of the third, but Hall only managed 6 points in the same span.
Hall would twice cut the lead to 6 – first with Poulin’s basket and then when Jordan Farrell found Talia Sortman for the lay-in with 2:00 to go. They would get it down to 4 on Megan Murray’s 3-pointer, but Janet Woodard would answer for Windsor with a 3, followed by Fraley’s fastmbreak hoop, and Windsor led 41-35 after three quarters.
Hall had an early chance to cut the lead to 2 but failed to convert on a pair of turnovers by Windsor. Every time Hall would get close, Windsor had the answer.
Fraley – who finished with a game-high 18 points – would open a 7-point lead for the visitors with another 3-pointer. With 2:55 left in the game, Hall lost Poulin when she fouled out with 10 points, and Windsor would play a slowed down game to finish off the Warriors 54-43.
Hall was led by Farrell’s 11-point effort and Sortman added 8.
Huggins was pleased with her team’s effort, saying after the game that “we had spurts of toughness with lots of kids playing out of position.”
With the loss, Hall drops to 2-2 on the season and is back in action Wednesday against Northwest Catholic.
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