Girls basketball: Trumbull loses to Hamden in Top 10 matchup

Trumbull High had a shot to win it at the end, but it was Hamden High that walked away with a 46-44 victory when two of the state’s top team met in Trumbull on Monday night.

No. 5 Hamden out of the Southern Connecticut Conference, and No. 2 Trumbull from the FCIAC got exactly what they wanted from this inter-league matchup.

“People thought we were crazy when they saw our schedule had Wilbur Cross and Hamden,” Eagle coach Steve Tobitsch said after his club dropped to 12-1. “We challenged ourselves. We could have scheduled any one and we scheduled one of the best teams in Connecticut.

"Hamden is very good. We have to go back and work a little harder to get over that hump.”

Hamden is now 10-1.

“This is why we picked (Trumbull) up,” Green Dragon coach Amanda Forcucci said. “We want to pick up teams who are going to prepare us for the postseason. We knew this was going to be a good game. I am proud of the them sticking it out and fighting for this one until the end.”

Taniya Thompson capped a 24-point performance with a free throw for a 46-44 lead with 10 seconds remaining.

Coming out of a timeout with 5.9 remaining, Trumbull got the look it wanted.

Allie Palmieri's three-point shot came off the rim and Krystina Schueler’s put-back attempt wouldn’t fall at the buzzer.

“Allie loves to compete,” Tobitsch said of his sophomore, who scored 26 points. “We got the good switch, the good shot, and Krystina worked for the rebound.”

Thompson, Hamden’s all-time leading scorer, had a pair of three-point plays and eight points overall when the visitors narrowed a 26-21 halftime deficit to 32-30 after three periods.

Palmieri was the chief architect of that first-half advantage.

She scored 10 points in a second quarter that saw Sarah Stolze hustle on a breakaway to put in a follow-up bucket. Cassi Barbato passed the ball out of a Hamden trap for a Palmieri three in the frame.

Schueler had a basket and two of her five blocked shots in the third, when Hamden began to attack the basket in transition and Thompson cleaned up.

“With numbers we wanted to get the ball up quicker and Asya (Brandon) did that,” Forcucci said. “That opened up the drives.”

A Thompson jumper gave Hamden its largest lead at 37-32, but Barbato made a brace of free throws and Schueler blocked a shot.

A high-low pass from Barbato to Schueler resulted in a Stolze basket off a Schueler assist.

The Eagles were within 37-36 with three minutes remaining.

Thompson finished a drive for a three-point play; Palmieri knocked down a 12-footer.

A defensive rebound by Emi Roberto led to a pair of free throws by Palmieri and the game was tied for the third time, 40-all.

Meghan Lesko stripped Brandon of the ball on a drive and tipped it to Barbato, but Trumbull couldn’t convert at the other end.

Thompson then sealed off a defender and put the ball in with 1:09 on the clock.

Palmieri converted two free throws, and Thompson one, to set up the final sequence.

“This was a win-win for us,” Tobitsch said. “Both teams played a good, competitive high school basketball game.”

Trumbull returns to action on Friday night at home to face Westhill High School at 7.

Trumbull (12-1)

Emma Gentry 0 0-0 0; Meghan Lesko 0 0-0 0; Emi Roberto 0 0-0 0; Maeve Hampford 0 0-0 0; Kelly O'Leary 0 1-3 1; Krystina Schueler 1 2-2 4; Sarah Stolze 3 0-0 6; Cassi Barbato 2 2-2 7; Allie Palmieri 10 5-6 26

Team Totals: 16 10-13 44

Hamden (10-1)

Aysha Brandon 0 3-4 3; Yariliz Santiago 1 1-2 3; Diamond White 1 0-0 3; Rebecca Oberman-Levine 3 0-0 6; Tonya Thompson 8 8-10 24; Makaela Johnson 2 1-2 5; Sarah Streete 1 0-0 2

Team Totals: 16  13-18 46

Scoring by Quarters:

Trumbull: 10  16 6 12 - 44

Hamden:  10 11 10 15 - 46

3-Pointers Made: Trumbull: Cassi Barbato-1; Allie Palmieri-1; Hamden: Diamond White-1