Monday, February 22, 2016

A quick look at this evening's NVL girls semifinal games

The top four seeds will play in this evening's NVL girls basketball tournament semifinals at Kennedy High School.
No. 2 St. Paul plays No. 3 Kennedy in the first semifinal at 5 p.m. No. 1 Holy Cross and No. 4 Watertown are scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. in the second semifinal. The winners meet on Wednesday in the tournament final, also at Kennedy and also at 7 p.m.
Here's what happened Saturday, and how the teams fared against each other during the regular season.

No. 2 St. Paul
  • The Falcons struggled in the first half of their quarterfinal against No. 7 Seymour, then turned it on big time in the second half. St. Paul won going away 52-19 behind 16 points from Brigid Johndrow. Johndrow told the Waterbury Republican-American afterward that it was not her team's best effort. The Falcons will be looking for a better effort today against the Eagles. 
No. 3 Kennedy
  • The Eagles rolled to a 58-38 win over No. 6 Woodland. Lynadia Whiting had a huge game with 22 points and nine steals. Kennedy has won 16 of its last 17 games after a 1-3 start. The Eagles are playing together and playing tough, which will make them a difficult opponent for anyone to deal with.
  • St. Paul and Kennedy met in the season opener for both teams at Kennedy High School on Dec. 15. The Falcons won going away 62-35. Things were certainly different on that night. For one, St. Paul senior Jillian Kilmer led the way with 17 points. Kilmer, unfortunately, is done for the season after an ACL injury. Kennedy, as mentioned before, got off to a slow start this season. Since going 1-3 in their first four games, however, the Eagles have been one of the NVL's best teams with a 16-1 record.
  • This matchup should be much closer this time around. For one, Kennedy is playing on its home floor, and the Eagles are riding a tidal wave of momentum. St. Paul has just one loss all season, though, and the Falcons will be ready for the challenge. St. Paul also wants to prove why it was a favorite to get to the NVL title game.

No. 1 Holy Cross
  • The Crusaders vanquished No. 8 Wolcott 62-43 in Saturday's first quarterfinal at Holy Cross High School. Idalis Miranda had a huge day with 28 points. According to Miranda, the Crusaders are playing with a chip on their shoulders. My guess would be because people think Holy Cross is weaker without Century McCartney, who is gone for the season with a knee injury. The Crusaders are certainly a different team without McCartney, but they are still a dangerous team. To think otherwise would be foolish.
No. 4 Watertown
  • The Indians used a big run over the second and third quarters to beat No. 5 Crosby 64-51. Abby Collier, a threat from inside and outside, led Watertown with 27 points. 
  • Holy Cross claimed a 64-53 win over Watertown on Jan. 5 at Watertown High School. RaShana Siders went off for 25 points that night, and Caitlin Cipriano provided a big lift inside with 18 of her own. Collier led the Indians with 19 points. Since that loss, Watertown has posted an 11-3 record. Holy Cross has lost once all year, to Crosby.
  • Holy Cross is still a favorite to win the NVL, but don't count Watertown out. Collier is a dangerous player, and putting too much focus on her could leave others open to do damage. The Crusaders have a dynamic attack, led by Siders and Miranda. Holy Cross also has a championship pedigree that's tough to match. 

I will be at both games this evening. Look for some updates on Twitter @SportsonCT69. Look for some video highlights in the next couple days on YouTube, and as always, posts about the games and the teams on this blog.

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