Girls basketball: Defense dominates in victories

Joel Barlow High’s Sarah McAniff scored seven points in a girls varsity basketball game against Platt Tech on Monday. Barlow won 50-30.—Rocco Paul Valluzzo photo

Its defense caused the competition fits when the Joel Barlow High girls varsity basketball team visited North Haven.

The Falcons held their opponent to single-digit scoring in each of the four quarters last Friday, Dec. 28. They did not have much difficulty finding the hoop at their own end of the court in a 47-23 non-league victory.

“Our defense was really good,” said Barlow head coach Joe Carollo. “We pressed a little bit. They struggled to run their offense.”

Ahead 10-7 after one quarter, the Falcons increased their offense in the next frame despite having to make an adjustment. With senior Sarah McAniff having three fouls, classmate Victoria Shea stepped up as the Falcons went up 24-13 a halftime.

While the Falcons maintained the pace once the second half got underway the Indians still had difficulty against the visitors’ defense, combining for just 10 points over the last two quarters.

Drew Bartro led Barlow with 13 points. Shea was next with 11.

“She did a little bit of everything,” said Carollo, citing assists, rebounds and steals. “She did so much for us.”

Katie Williges also scored in double figures with 10. McAniff scored six points and Kelly Gilbert sank six.

Ally Stillman scored two and Emma Gallagher sank a free throw for Barlow.

Saturday’s snowstorm pushed the Falcons’ game against Platt Tech to Monday. Once again their defense had a big day as they outscored the visitors 50-30 in another non-league contest.

With two players taller than six feet the Panthers had the height advantage. However, they had trouble with Barlow’s press and could not get the ball underneath to their taller players.

Despite being undersized the Falcons went ahead to stay with a 14-4 lead at the end of the first quarter. The lead only grew from their as they held their defense created turnovers that translated into points as they took a 32-10 lead at halftime.

Barlow eased up on its defense in the second half and the Panthers did not let the gap get any bigger but still stayed a safe distance from the hosts.

Bartro again led Barlow with 14 points. She also had 12 rebounds while battling 6’ 4” center Alyia Bohannan under the basket.

“She was able to out-maneuver Bohannan,” said Carollo. “She was a better skilled center.”

Mahoney also shot the ball well, scoring a career-high 10 points. McAniff and Gallagher each scored seven.

Shea and Gilbert each had four. Stillman and Williges each sank two.

Barlow, now 4-2 overall, visits Oxford on Friday and hosts Immaculate on Tuesday. Both games are at 7 p.m.

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