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No style points, but Colonels will take win

By Ned Griffen

Publication: The Day

Published December 19. 2012 4:00AM
Dana Jensen/The Day
Ledyard's Arianna Fustini, left, and Montville's Meghan Autencio battle for a loose ball during the Colonels' 40-38 overtime win on Tuesday night.

Ledyard - Ledyard High School didn't have an, um, aesthetically pleasing win over Montville on Tuesday.

The Colonels missed a dizzying array of early shots and trailed by as much as 13 points. They were generally reluctant to drive the lane. They couldn't hold on to a late lead or stop Montville's Cassidy Bundy from driving to the rim.

Still, Ledyard was able to escape with a 40-38 overtime win. The Colonels expect to be a contender for the Eastern Connecticut Conference Medium Division girls' basketball title, and although they returned everyone from last season's team, Kylie Fustini was the only senior who played against Montville.

More importantly, this group of Colonels finally got past the Indians.

"We've never beaten them before and they're in our division," Ledyard junior Olivia DelGrosso said. "We want to win the division, so it's huge."

Colonels coach Adam Baber said, "We're competing to win that (Medium) division, so (this) gives us a one-step advantage. We still have a lot of games to play. That being said, morale-wise, it's a big one The last two years, we haven't beaten them, so now we know that we can start winning the big games."

Fustini had 10 points and 18 rebounds for Ledyard (5-0, 3-0) while DelGrosso had 11 points.

Bundy had a game-high 21 points with 11 rebounds and two blocks for Montville (4-1, 2-1) and Meghan Autencio added six steals.

The Colonels have one of the taller front lines around, yet it was one of their shortest players, 5-foot-2 Bianca Matira, who came up with the game's biggest block.

The game was tied, 38-38, with under a minute left when Matira somehow came up with a block. She picked the ball off the floor and threw it cross-court to DelGrosso for a game-winning layup with 44 seconds left.

"Yeah, the little girl, she was the one who blocked it," DelGrosso smiled. "I don't know how."

Baber said, "That's not something we practice, Bianca blocking shots, but she came up big. It was a good use of the hands. All the credit to her."

Montville led by 13 points (16-3) with over five minutes left in the first half as the Colonels kept settling for long jumpers. But Ledyard closed the half with a 14-0 run to take a 17-16 lead. DelGrosso made back-to-back 3-pointers during that stretch.

Bundy scored three straight baskets to end regulation and force overtime.

"We were doing everything that we worked on," Indians coach Derek Wainwright said of the first half. "We controlled the tempo. I guess, ironically, the one thing we didn't work on all week after scouting them a couple of times was our 2-3 zone offense. They went to that 2-3 at a point in the second quarter, and it kind of bogged our offense down.

"The second half, we made some adjustments on it, but we obviously lost the lead. Cassidy Bundy had a great game offensively and defensively, but it seemed like in spots in the second half that she was the only offense we had."


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