Sophomore Sara Bowman, player 32, leaps into the air for the ball at the tip off at the start of the Varsity Canton Girls Basketball game against Ellington. – photograph by Jennifer Charron
BY LAUREN ESCHENBRENNER
The season for the Canton High School girls basketball team ended tremendously with their Class S Championship win against Thomaston at Mohegan Sun Arena on March 18th, 2017.
“I’m so proud of all of the girls because they came together as a team. We needed to depend on the person to the right and to the left. Everyone had to play their role to a team and that’s exactly what we did. Couldn’t be any happier for this group,” said Coach Brian Medieros about the team’s performance during the game.
This was the third consecutive year that the Warriors played against the Thomaston Bears. In 2015, the Canton girls lost by two points. In 2016, the Canton girls won by 13 points. In 2017, the Canton girls won the three-way tie by winning 60-51.
The Thomaston-Canton rivalry has been going on for three years, with both teams having the goal to play each other to see who is the better team.
Medieros believes the feud between the two teams has had a positive effect on his players. “The rivalry with Thomaston made us a better team and made me a better coach. Thomaston forced us to raise our games and that’s exactly what we did. Couldn’t have written it any better for us to play each other in a third straight final; I hope it’s not the last time we see each other.”
The Warriors’ outstanding win was a culmination of a season full of hard work and dedication. It took a lot of time and effort to reach the potential of winning a championship. At the start of the season, the team wasn’t very very cohesive,but within a few games into the season, the team started to bond not just on the court, but off the court. It helped to bind the team together in a tight friendship. During playoffs, the team played together as if it were a second nature.
“I think at the beginning of the season it was a little rocky, especially our practices. But after that, we all kind of clicked and made sure we were all on the same page, and that’s when practices got better and we started to play well together,” said senior Leah Eschenbrenner. On and off the court, the team improved by bonding and becoming better friends.
There were many ups and downs throughout the season that lead to the Warriors’ Class S Championship win.
Despite the two losses against Suffield in the beginning of the season, the team developed skillfully by having 15 consecutive wins in the regular season.
Senior Abbe Skinner was practical about the team’s losses. “[A loss] gives us more motivation and it gives us more drive to not feel that again, especially when upcoming games are a lot more important because they’re either going to make or break us, so there’s no more pretend losses anymore, really.”
On Tuesday, February 14, the team played against East Windsor, which ended up breaking their previous winning streak with a score of 44-46. It was the game to determine whether Canton would place 1st or 3rd in the Class S standings. After the loss, the Canton girls High School team was ranked 3rd in the Class S. Although the loss didn’t affect the standings in the playoffs, it still affected each player.
The team then went to East Windsor to redeem themselves and strive for a win on February 21. Although the passion and the energy was there, Canton ended up losing again, 44-52. Injuries happened here and there for Canton, but the girls did not stop playing basketball until the final buzzer rang at the end of the game. Despite the loss in the North Central Connecticut Conference, the team was determined to improve and put their best foot forward going into States.
On March 2, the Canton girls won the home playoff game against Windham by a score of 70-40. The first half of the game was rocky for the Canton girls as they lead the game by only four points, a score of 38-34. But in the second half, the girls only gave up 6 points for the other team, and scored 32 by the final buzzer. It was a major improvement from the first half, and it augmented the confidence for the next game, which was obviously a win.
For the semi finals, the Canton girls played off against Housatonic Regional at Simsbury High School on March 10,winning a close game of 41 to 38. The game was a nail biter, and most of the crowd was on the edge of their seat for most of the game. It wasn’t the best performance from the Canton girls, but they managed to sneak by with a win that would cause them to run to the sun. In the end, the game was fair play and a competitive win for Canton.
“Just because we [had] a twelve point lead [didn’t] mean we [gave] up. Just playing a full game with the same energy and effort we [had] to start with [was] already improvement,” said senior Emily Briggs on the team’s improvement.
Despite the ups and downs throughout the season, it is evident that the Canton High School’s girl basketball team has come a long way that consisted of hard work and great leadership, which caused them to bring home the gold.