BERLIN - With just over four seconds remaining and leading Berlin 47-44, Southington girls basketball sophomore Madison Hulten stepped up to the free throw line needing one shot to essentially ice the game for the Blue Knights.
Hulten delivered big at the line, knocking down both foul shots en route to Southington’s 49-44 win over the Redcoats on Monday night.
“We feel pretty comfortable at the line,” Blue Knights senior Janette Wadolowski said. “Our whole team does free throws so much at practice because we know they’re important. Maddie Hulten had the key free throws at the end there and that really helped us.”
Wadolowski went 6-for-8 at the foul line and as a team, Southington went 13-for-18 in the game.
Berlin also was strong at the line hitting 14 of its 18 foul shots.
Wadolowski finished with a game-high 23 points for the Blue Knights, while Lyzi Litwinko led the Redcoats with 18 points.
“We missed some perimeter opportunities,” Berlin head coach Sheila King said. “We need to make sure we see our four teammates on the floor and get that ball worked around a little bit. But other than that I can’t say I’m displeased with this effort tonight.”
The game began with both teams knocking down a couple of early baskets to begin the first quarter. Then, Southington went on a 6-0 run to close out the quarter with Alli Carr collecting four of those six points.
Going into the second quarter with momentum, Southington continued its run.
Wadolowski hit a two, then drew a shooting foul and knocked down one of two at the line. After Wynter Yovan missed a pair of free throws for the Redcoats, Hulten knocked down a short jump shot to extend the Blue Knights lead to 15-4.
Berlin responded with a 4-0 run of its own as Litwinko knocked down a pair of free throws and Carly Grega had a layup. Wadolowski, however, ended the small Redcoats’ push with a jumper.
But Berlin would score the next five points to bring the score to 17-13 on a 3-pointer from Angela Perrelli and a pair of free throws from Litwinko.
Wadolowski again answered with five points of her own to put her team up 22-13.
The Redcoats continued to battle back and Yovan scored four points to close out the half with the score 22-17 in favor of the Blue Knights.
“Give Berlin credit,” Southington head coach Mike Forgione said. “We could just never put them away. We’d get that 5-, 6-, 7-, 8-point lead and then they would bring it back to 3 or 4.”
With the score 25-21 early in the third, the Blue Knights’ Kelley Marshall made her presence felt.
Marshall knocked down a pair of free throws and then blocked Perrelli on the defensive end of the before knocking down a 3-pointer on the next possession to extend the Southington lead to 30-23.
Berlin would once again go on a run.
Litwinko had an offensive rebound that she put back in and followed it up knocking down a pair of foul shots.
Down 32-27, Alana Garofalo put a layup in and was fouled. Garofalo hit the free throw and the Redcoats were on a 7-0 run.
At the end of the third, Berlin trailed just 33-30.
Carr and Wadolowski started Southington out on a 5-0 run to begin the fourth.
With the Redcoats trailing 38-30, Berlin finally made its push though going on a 12-3 run to take its first lead of the game.
Litwinko and Perrelli led the charge on the run. Litwinko had six of the 12 points and Perrelli had four.
Facing their first deficit of the game down 42-41, the Blue Knights needed a spark.
Wadolowski hit a pair of free throws to get the lead back then Carr had a big offensive rebound that she put in to give Southington a 45-42 lead.
“They came back and took a 1-point lead,” Forgione said. “That was what I was most proud of. Give our kids credit because we had that lead throughout the game and then when they came back and took the lead we answered right back and got the lead right back .”
Down three Litwinko made an errant pass that was stolen by Wadolowski.
Berlin put Wadolowski at the line and she hit one of two, giving Southington a 46-42 lead.
Garofalo would bring the Redcoats back within a possession with a jump shot.
Berlin couldn’t get a bucket as time ran out.
Southington moves to 9-4 on the season while the Redcoats fall to 5-7.
The Blue Knights are on a five-game winning streak and have won eight of their last nine.
“We’re feeling really good,” Wadolowski said. “We just want to keep winning because that’s we do. At practice we have people com, we have people scrimmage with us because we want to win. Nobody likes to lose obviously. We like the feeling and we’re ready for anyone.”