The St. Joseph girls basketball squad bumped into a red-hot Lauralton Hall crew on Monday night in Milford, and despite a decent first half where the Cadets trailed by eight, the second 16 minutes won’t ever be a part of the school’s basketball highlight film.

Outscored 29-9 and going one stretch early in the third quarter where they gave up 15 straight points, the Cadets suffered a 52-24 loss to the Crusaders, who, after dropping their first five games, have rebounded with six wins in their last seven contests.

“The credit goes to them,” said Cadet coach Chris Lindwall about the game, which was televised for later viewing by CPTV-Sports. “They took us out of everything we tried to do. Amanda (Lauralton Hall coach Amanda Forcucci) has a young team and she has them playing well.

“Their man-to-man defense forced us into a lot of mistakes (16 turnovers) out there. That’s the kind of defense that we aspire to play. We tried tonight, but I had to go with some zone defense in an effort to keep the ball away from certain players.”

The Cadets were never able to get a lead and fell behind, 8-2, after one quarter while getting in early foul trouble.

A basket by Chelsea Dos Santos at the start of the third quarter cut Lauralton’s lead to 23-16, and the Cadets had a chance to trim it even further but a pair of missed shots followed by turnovers propelled the Crusaders to a 15-0 run and a 40-17 lead going into the final quarter.

Dos Santos finished with 10 points. The Cadets were only able to make 8 of 36 field-goal attempts. Meanwhile, the Crusaders nailed 22-out-of-36 for a phenomenal 60 per cent evening.

“We were playing out of our minds out there,” said Forcucci. “We ran the floor so well and when we did, we spotted the open player for baskets. This is a young group but they’re maturing in a basketball sense. I’ve seen it in our last seven games.

Led by 19 points from Trish Gildea and 13 from Emily Spahn, Lauralton Hall is now 6-6.

The Cadets were once again forced to play without senior Jackie Jozefick, an inside scorer. She’s due back for the best game against Stamford.

Lindwall lost nine players off of his state championship team.

“What’s important tonight is we must learn from this loss and build on it,” he said. “Jackie has been cleared to play (she suffered a concussion in an FCIAC loss to Trumbull) and she was able to take warm-ups tonight. Now that she’s back, hopefully, it will develop more confidence in our other players.”