Falcons, Eagles, Crusaders reach NVL girls hoop semifinal round

Monday’s NVL girls’ basketball tournament semifinals will feature three local teams.

St. Paul, Wolcott and Holy Cross all won their Saturday quarterfinal games at Kennedy High School’s Jack Taglia Gymnasium. The Falcons blasted Oxford in the opener, 64-30. In the third game, the Eagles kept Seymour at bay, 48-35, with solid free throw shooting. In the nightcap, the Crusaders used two big baskets at the end of the first half to seize momentum and claim a 56-43 win over Naugatuck.

On Monday, No. 3 St. Paul will take on No. 2 Torrington in the first semifinal at 5:30 p.m. No. 1 Holy Cross and No. 4 Wolcott follow in the second semifinal at 7:30 p.m.

Here’s a bit about what happened in each game:

No. 3 St. Paul 64, No. 6 Oxford 30

The Falcons lowered the boom on the Wolverines with a dominant first half and cruised to victory.

Audrey Tice scored 11 points in the first quarter and finished with 25, which was the highest total in the four quarterfinal games.

Rebecca Kelly put up 15 points and nine rebounds. On defense, St. Paul suffocated Oxford’s offense and held leading scorer Mikayla Walton to 10 points.

No. 4 Wolcott 48, No. 5 Seymour 35

Defense was also the calling card for the Eagles in their win over the Wildcats.

Wolcott used its pressure defense to disrupt Seymour. Once the Eagles had a double-digit lead, they slowed the game down in the halfcourt, then converted their free throws at a good clip (24-32, 75%). Mayci Abou Arrage led Wolcott with 16 points. Amanda Sullivan had 14 points and Mimi Reilly tallied seven.

No. 1 Holy Cross 56, No. 8 Naugatuck 43

The Crusaders found themselves in a rare situation … playing without senior star Mya Zaccagnini.

Zaccagnini had two fouls and sat out much of the first half. Naugatuck kept the game tight and was down just two points before Holy Cross came up with a couple big plays at the end of the first half.

First, freshman Corrine Lomax secured a loose ball and swished a short shot from the right side. The ensuing inbound was deflected, and fellow freshman Quinn Barry banked in a short shot as time expired, which sent the Crusaders to the locker room with a 30-24 lead.

Zaccagnini was back on the court in the third quarter and tallied 11 of her game-high 18 points in that stanza. Holy Cross’ lead was 48-32 after three quarters, and the Crusaders coasted from there. Barry finished with 12 points, including six in the second quarter while Zaccagnini sat. Junior Isabella Oliver tallied 11 points and played some strong defense. Lomax wound up with eight points.

GALLERY: Here are my photos from Saturday’s local quarterfinal games.

Caption: Holy Cross freshman Quinn Barry had 12 points off the bench, including a key buzzer-beater at the end of the first half, for her team in a 56-43 NVL quarterfinal win over Naugatuck on Saturday. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)