Norwalk girls basketball team pulls away in fourth quarter to defeat New Canaan
Published 8:51 pm, Friday, January 27, 2012
Both the New Canaan and Norwalk girls basketball teams entered Friday night's contest in similar predicaments. The Rams and Bears sported identical 8-5 records, but both had stumbled of late with New Canaan having lost two of three and Norwalk two in a row.
For three quarters, the game was a back and forth affair with multiple momentum swings and neither team trailing by more than seven points. The fourth quarter, however, was an entirely different story, as Norwalk turned a six point lead into 69-54 win.
"I like the fact that we were down early, we kept our composure and we came back. Any win on the road is good," Norwalk coach Ricky Fuller said. "We told them it would be their speed against our size and that we had to make our presence felt in the paint, and I think we did that tonight."
Norwalk's Amma Oyomba proved especially problematic for New Canaan, as the Norwalk junior used her height advantage to dominate the boards with 31 rebounds while scoring a game-high 33 points. Oyomba netted 14 points in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
"We just moved the ball around, and when we had an open lane we took it, whether by dribbling or by passing it to one of the big girls in the paint," Oyomba said. "(The fourth quarter) was definitely a good sign. At the beginning of the season, we had a problem with that. We were dominating three quarters and then we would get to the fourth quarter and let it slip away. In the fourth quarter today, we just dominated and it shows how we've come together this season."
New Canaan's Sarah Mannelly nearly matched Oyomba point-for-point, scoring 30 for the Rams.
"I give (Mannelly) so much respect. She steps on the court, she's a competitor and she leaves everything that she has every game," New Canaan coach Kim Palmer said. "I wish it could be different for her because she should really go out on top."
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After spotting Norwalk (9-5) an early 9-5 lead, New Canaan (8-6) closed the first quarter on a 10-2 run on baskets by four players (Kelly Armstrong, Brianna McEwan, Sarah Mannelly and Courtney Rogers) for a 15-11 lead.
In the second quarter, Norwalk spread out the scoring with Oyomba, Katie Schmidt and Shayna Marko all making baskets, and the Bears closed to within 28-27 at halftime.
"We play hard, but we can't finish and that's been pretty much the story all season long. There can't be any hesitation throughout the game," New Canaan coach Kim Palmer said. "Granted, the last two games we've played, we've been against some post players with size. When the shot goes up, it doesn't matter what size you are; what matters is what you've got inside."
In the third, a 3 by Norwalk's Alexis Noonan broke a 31-31 tie, putting the Bears in front to stay. Norwalk closed out the quarter on a 7-2 run to take a 43-37 lead heading into the fourth.
"We did fight to the end, but unfortunately it didn't go our way. The next few games are going to be very important," Armstrong said. "A lot of the teams are good teams, so hopefully our shots will come back on. Boxing out needs to be a big priority in our next two games because the girls are much bigger than us and they will continue to be."
In addition to Oyomba, Norwalk's key offensive contributors included Erica Cohens, Schmidt and Noonan with 11, 10 and nine points, respectively.
For New Canaan Armstrong scored 13 and Rogers added six.
Norwalk (9-5), which prior to its two straight losses had reeled off eight consecutive wins, is back in action on the road against St. Joseph on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
New Canaan (8-6) looks to pick up a critical victory at Fairfield Warde on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
NORWALK 69, NEW CANAAN 54
NORWALK (9-5, 7-5)
NEW CANAAN (8-6, 6-6)
Sarah Mannelly 9 10-12 30 Kelly Armstrong 5 3-4 13 Courtney Rogers 2 0-1 6 Brianna McEwan 1 3-4 5 Georgia Hunsinger 0 0-0 0 Ellie Wright 0 0-0 0 Elizabetrh Miller 0 0-0 0 Page Jones 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17 16-21 54.
NORWALK.............. 11 16 16 26 --69
NEW CANAAN.......... 15 13 9 17 --54
3-Pointers: Nor -- Noonan, Marko. NC -- Mannelly 2, Rogers 2.