Holy Cross, Wolcott host girls state quarterfinal games on Monday night

High school girls’ basketball state tournament action resumes Monday night, and two local teams will be playing in quarterfinal round games.

Both teams will be home for their contests. In Class L, second-seeded Holy Cross plays seventh-seeded New Milford of the South-West Conference at 7 p.m. Also at 7 p.m., seventh-seeded Wolcott takes on No. 18 Berlin of the Central Connecticut Conference in Class MM.

Holy Cross had a first round bye before it dispatched Masuk-Monroe of the SWC, 67-50, on March 2. Mya Zaccagnini, playing in her first game since injuring her ankle in an NVL semifinal victory over Wolcott, went off for 26 points and six steals. Shania Howard added 22 points and five steals. New Milford started its state tournament with a 37-20 win over No. 26 Stratford, also from the SWC. In the second round, the Green Wave downed No. 10 New Canaan, 49-40.

Wolcott opened Class MM play with a 56-28 blowout of No. 26 Branford of the Southern Connecticut Conference. In the second round, the Eagles used big plays from senior captains Mimi Reilly, Mayci Abou Arrage and Julia Sullivan to rally past No. 23 Watertown, 48-47, inside the John H. Morris Gymnasium. Here’s more about this game, because it needs to be mentioned:

Wolcott trailed Watertown, 42-34, with 6:01 to go. Abou Arrage scored five straight points to get the Eagles to within 42-39. A Reilly steal and layup brought Wolcott to within 42-41. Watertown took a 44-41 lead, then Julia Sullivan drove and laid the ball in to get the home team back to 44-43. When Reilly sank a 3-pointer in front of the Wolcott bench with 2:09 left, the Eagles had a 46-44 lead. Reilly came up with a steal at the 1:33 mark, then hit one of two free throws with 1:05 to play to put Wolcott up, 47-44. Watertown tied the game with a 3-pointer with about 55 seconds left, but Reilly was fouled again with 32.6 seconds left. Reilly made one of two free throws again, but her made foul shot put the Eagles in the lead, 48-47. The Warriors tried to get something going, but Abou Arrage came up with a steal in the corner in front of the visiting bench. Wolcott somehow dribbled out the clock and a wild celebration ensued. Abou Arrage finished with a game-high 18 points. Reilly had nine points while the Sullivan twins – Julia and Amanda – had seven apiece. Lauryn Sinclair contributed six points.

Berlin dispatched No. 15 Killingly of the Eastern Connecticut Conference in the first round, 47-39. The Redcoats upset second-seeded Ellington in the second round, 59-40.

NVL champion St. Paul also reached the quarterfinal round, doing so in Class M. The eighth-seeded Falcons don’t play until Wednesday, when they travel to East Hampton to face the top-seeded Bellringers of the Shoreline Conference in a 6:30 p.m. contest. St. Paul blasted No. 25 Grasso Tech, 57-19, in a first round game. In the second round, the Falcons got past No. 9 Seymour, an NVL foe, by a 49-35 margin. Rebecca Kelly was big inside with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Audrey Tice contributed 13 points and five assists while Haileigh Orzel, Olivia Dahn and Zola Cudjoe tallied seven points apiece.

Caption: Mya Zaccagnini did well in her return to the Holy Cross girls’ basketball lineup this past Thursday. It was the senior star’s first game since injuring her ankle in the NVL semifinal against Wolcott. Both Holy Cross and Wolcott host state quarterfinal games Monday night. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69, file)