NEWINGTON – Without spectators to cheer on a stellar season during this pandemic, the Newington High School girls basketball team finally got its recognition.
The Town Council presented the girls with a proclamation this week, recognizing them for a 15-0 season and a first place standing out of 32 division teams in the CCC Tournament.
“The Newington Town Council recognizes the Newington High School girls basketball team for its outstanding efforts and record-breaking accomplishments and wishes the team members the best of luck in upcoming seasons,” Mayor Beth DelBuono read in conclusion.
“I think it’s amazing, especially during the year we had with covid, that our girls were able to play as a team and have those team experiences,” she added.
The NHS girls recently finished their regular season with an undefeated 12-0 record before winning their first CCC Tournament championship for Division I, defeating Bristol Eastern 55-35, Southington 49-23 and Windsor 52-40.
Junior Guard Lily Ferguson was one of the stand-out stars, leading the final game against Windsor with 17 points.
Head Coach Marc Tancredi pointed out that while several players were mentioned in the proclamation for scoring game-winning points, every player was integral to the team’s success.
“Everybody has a specific value on our team and they know that and that’s why we’ve been so successful,” he explained. “The culture we’ve built within our program is incredibly strong; it’s a tight-knit group.”
While town residents would have normally attended games in person, they tuned in from home on Newington Community Television due to the pandemic restrictions.
Deputy Mayor Gail Budrejko congratulated all the players, their families and coaches for an amazing season.
“You made Newington proud as all of us in town followed your successes in the games throughout the season,” Budrejko said. “Players made memories that are going to last them a lifetime, so great jobs and congratulations.”
Regular tournament play was heavily disrupted by the covid-19 restrictions, with the safety and well-being of players of the utmost importance. Despite the hindrances, the team stayed strong.
“Going 15-0 is amazing any time but during the time of coronavirus when I’m sure practices were disrupted, it’s an amazing feat,” Majority Leader Tim Manke told the team.
Most of the team had practice for AAU basketball while the council meeting was happening, Tancredi told elected officials, but they would have loved to listen in.
“It was difficult for us because we couldn’t have fans in the stands,” he added of the season. “But we knew they were watching us from livestream. I give so much credit to our players for the dedication and commitment that they showed every day in the practices and the games.”
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.