Girls basketball: Trumbull holds off NFA in Class LL quarters

Trumbull High's girls basketball team built up a large lead, squandered it, then rallied back to defeat gritty Norwich Free Academy, 45-40, in the quarterfinals of the Class LL state tournament on Thursday.

Coach Steve Tobitsch's top-seeded Eagles (25-1) led by as many as 14 points in the second half on their home court, but the eighth-seeded Wildcats rallied back behind standout senior Hailey Conley. Conley scored 21 of her 23 points in the second half, including six during an 8-0 flurry that gave NFA a 38-33 edge with 5:52 left to play— its first since early in the first quarter.

Trumbull, bolstered by 11 trips to the foul line in the fourth quarter alone, responded by closing the game on a 12-2 run. Claudia Tucci's layup with 2:11 remaining put the Eagles back on top, 39-38, and they connected on 6 of 10 from the stripe over the final 1:32 to survive NFA's upset bid.

Four of those free throws came consecutively, when NFA freshman Makayla Poirier-Vaughters was called for her fifth foul and then assessed a technical foul at the 1:32 mark.

Tucci missed both of hers for the original foul on Poirer-Vaughters, but Taylor Brown sank the front end of the technical brace to give Trumbull a 40-38 advantage.

NFA did not make a basket the rest of the way, with Conley connecting on two foul shots, and the Eagles making 5 of 6 over the final 1:18 to seal the win.

Trumbull will face fifth-seeded Mercy High of Middletown on Monday in the Class LL semifinals.