Girls basketball: Trumbull earns berth in Class LL title game

The Trumbull High girls basketball was bruised and battle tested throughout its run to the FCIAC championship.

The top-seeded Eagles didn’t expect it to be any easier when it came to earning a trip to the Class LL state finals when they met fifth-seeded Mercy High of Middletown in Milford on Monday night.

“We wouldn’t be going to the Mohegan Sun without thinking about Mercy first, that’s a fantastic team,” Trumbull coach Steve Tobitsch said after his Eagles defeated the Tigers, 45-38 in overtime.

“Tim Kohs is a fantastic coach, someone I admire. It shows a lot when after they hit that three that we come out and win the overtime period.”

Mercy’s Samantha Chapps knocked down the 3-pointer from the right corner with 13 seconds remaining to force the extra session. That tied the game (for the eighth time) at 35-35.

Chapps (eight points) made two free throws to open overtime.

Trumbull’s Claudia Tucci answered with a 3-pointer from atop the key that brought the Trumbull side of the SRO bi-partisan crowd to its feet.

That hoop gave the Eagles the lead, and allowed the 6-foot senior to eclipse the 1,000th point mark in her career.

“I did not, I thought I was so far away,” said Tucci, who was told about her accomplishment and presented a ball to commemorate the milestone by teammates in the locker room after the game.

“It feels amazing (going to the finals), all this hard work we’ve put in this season really paid off tonight. Me, (classmates and fellow captains) Taylor Brown and Victoria Ray have a lot of confidence in this team.”

After Tucci’s trey, Trumbull outscored the Tigers 7-1 the rest of the way.

“I told the players we have four more minutes to execute our game plan (limit touches inside, contest threes) and we stuck with it,” Tobitsch said. “Now, we want to keep it going one more game.”

Trumbull, now 26-1, will play third-seeded New London High (22-2) on Saturday at 6:15 p.m. at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Mercy finished its season at 23-4.

“I think we were the only team to hold them under forty the entire season, that’s a huge accomplishment against a team like that,” Tobitsch said. “I thought our kids did a fantastic job, those (Mercy) kids are great basketball players.”

Brown scored 13 points, Tucci 12, Julie Keckler eight and Aisling Maguire seven.

Trumbull made 14 field goals, seven from long range. The Eagles were 10 of 19 from the line.

Isabella Santoro scored 14 points to lead Mercy. The Tigers were limited to 10 field goals, five from beyond the arc. They made 13-of-16 shots from the foul line.