Hall takes down CCC foe Manchester in a rematch of a Jan. 2 contest also played in West Hartford.
By Marlon Pitter
Four Warriors scored in double figures – led by Amber Raisner’s 21 points – as the fifth-seeded Hall High School girls basketball team defeated 28-seed Manchester 84-43 in the first round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament on Monday night in West Hartford.
After a slow start, Hall dialed up its intensity as the game went on, scoring more points each quarter throughout the 32 minutes played.
“I would say, starting in the latter part of the third quarter through the fourth quarter, we saw effort,” said Hall head coach Brittany Huggins. “I was very pleased with their energy and their effort on the defensive end and then we started making shots … Manchester was aggressive on defense and we were scared, and we wanted them to match their aggressiveness [and] attack the basket – and it may not be to score, maybe to kick out to that open player. Much better job in the second half.”
Hall led 12-6 after the first quarter. Despite never trailing, the Warriors saw stretches early in the game where Manchester’s defense made it tough to score.
The offense began to open up in the second quarter, as the Warriors scored 20 points in the frame to take a 32-17 lead into halftime.
While Raisner was one of three Warriors to score six points in the third quarter, it was her back-to-back 3-pointers that ignited the crowd as Hall began to put the game away, leading 53-29 with 2:13 remaining.
Hall continued to stretch its lead into the fourth quarter while getting key minutes from reserves late in the game. The Warriors grabbed their largest lead of the game at 44 points when Lexi Gellerman made her second consecutive basket to give Hall a 78-34 advantage with 3:35 to play.
Along with Raisner, Jenna Zydanowicz, Siobhan Boyle, and Jordan Farrell scored 12, 11, and 10, respectively in the victory.
Tyonna Tyson led the way for the Indians with 17 points, dealing most of her damage from the paint to draw contact and go to the free throw line. Ianez Rose added 11 for Manchester.
Huggins credited Manchester for the way they competed despite a young roster featuring six freshmen and just two seniors.
“Give them a couple years and they’re definitely going to be competitive and challenging a lot of teams,” she said.
The Warriors will host 12-seed and FCIAC Tournament runner-up Wilton (16-4) in a second-round matchup on Thursday night.
“The lack of energy that we had to start the game, Wilton’s not going to allow us to do that, so we have to bring that energy from the start,” said Huggins.
Raisner echoed the sentiment: “We know this is win or go home, so we’re not going to just wait a half to start playing. We have to give it everything we’ve got.”
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