NEW BRITAIN - The New Britain girls basketball team was tested on adversity Saturday afternoon as it saw competition from Brooklyn, N.Y.
Medgar Evers College Prep brought a roster of just five girls into New Britain, including Kayla Williams, Kylah Evans, Shequana Jackson, Iyobosa Ekhator and Taylir Manhertz. It turns out, it was all the Cougars needed.
Williams scored a game-high 20 points and Evan contributed another 13 as the Hurricanes were outscored 50-38 on the afternoon.
“It was a different experience for us,” New Britain point guard Gabby Roy said. “They came with five players which shocked us but that didn’t mean anything. They came out with a lot of energy, they came out fast and they were prepared for us.”
And it didn’t take long for Medgar Evers to take control of the game.
The Hurricanes were able to put the first four points on the board on back-to-back baskets by Maya Slisz, only for the Cougars to go on a 16-0 run.
Evans hit a 3-pointer to get Medgar Evers started, while Williams added three 3s of her own during the stretch.
New Britain attempted to cut the deficit as the first quarter came to a close. Roy hit a two-point shot and hit a buzzer-beating 3 as the Hurricanes trailed the Cougars 18-9 at the end of the first eight minutes.
“At the beginning of the game we started off with a decent amount of energy,” said Slisz, who scored a team-high 13 points. “I think scoring [in] the first half of the game, we got everyone into it and we were all straight. But then one of their players starting to hit 3s and we came down. We have to remember that we’re still a team and we had to bring it back up, bring the energy back so we can stay in the game.”
New Britain continued to struggle in the second quarter.
Medgar Evers began on a 6-0 run before Slisz was able end it after hitting 1 of her 2 free throw attempts. Raven Symone Jarrett later hit 1 of her 2 foul shots for the Hurricanes with one second left in the first half to send New Britain into the break down 28-14.
“In the first half we had the shots that we wanted,” Hurricanes head coach Marc Wesoly said. “We just weren’t falling, that was one huge piece of it. We had the wide open looks and we just didn’t make them.”
New Britain also fell into foul trouble during the duration of the first half, generating 11 team fouls and giving up seven points.
“When our bigs come down, they’re 7 feet, we like to call them,” Roy said. “We just need to keep our hands up and try not to swat down because the refs are going to call it.”
But the Hurricanes finally appeared to find their rhythm over the final 16 minutes of play as they outscored the Cougars 24-22. It just proved to be too little, too late.
Just three minutes into the third quarter, New Britain generated a 9-0 run of its own.
Tianna Sweeney ignited the run as she hit a 2-point shot with 4:45 left on the clock. Brianna Clarke also added two as did Saniya Pellegrini. Slisz was sent to the foul line again, hitting 1-of-2 baskets, while Savannah Gonzalez finished the run off with back-to-back baskets.
Medgar Evers, however, hit three 3s in the third quarter to keep up with its consistent lead. Williams shot two and Evans scored the other as the clock wound down. The Cougars led going into the final quarter 37-25.
Both teams came away with 13 points in the fourth, but the Hurricanes fell deeper into foul trouble as the game neared the end. Brianna Clarke received her fifth and final foul of the afternoon, and was taken out with 3:25 left in the game.
Unable to catch up, New Britain falls to 3-7 on the season.
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or email@example.com