Girls basketball: Trumbull to host NFA in quarterfinals

Claudia Tucci and the Trumbull High Eagles are guaranteed one of the top two seeds. — David G. Whitham photo
Claudia Tucci and the Trumbull High Eagles are guaranteed one of the top two seeds. — David G. Whitham photo

The Trumbull Eagles and Stamford Black Knights, the finalists in this year’s FCIAC girls basketball tournament, are the last two conference teams standing in the CIAC Class LL playoffs.

Trumbull (24-1) will host NFA (18-4), while Stamford (20-5) plays at New London (20-2) in the next round.

Both games will tip off at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 9.

All four teams are ranked in GameTimeCt’s top 10. Trumbull is No. 1, followed by No. 3 New London, No. 7 NFA, and No. 8 Stamford.

The FCIAC had 12 teams qualify for the state tournaments, and 10 have been knocked out, including three teams who were eliminated by FCIAC opponents. League teams are 10-10 in the state playoffs.

Trumbull, the FCIAC champion and top seed in Class LL, knocked off the Warde Mustangs, 44-34, in an all-league match-up in the second round on Friday.

It was the third meeting of the season between the two schools, and the second time Trumbull has beaten Warde.

Warde handed the Eagles their only loss of the season, 54-53, on Feb. 10, but the Eagles got revenge in the FCIAC semis when they topped the Mustangs 36-34 in triple overtime in a game carried by the HAN Network. You can watch that game on demand by clicking here.

This time around, Trumbull built a 22-10 lead in the first half and Warde closed the gap to 27-21 after three quarters before the Eagles put it away in the fourth.

Claudia Tucci had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Julie Keckler added 12 points.

“This turned out to be a great competitive game between two, very good teams,” Trumbull head coach Steve Tobitsch told the Trumbull Times. “It felt much more like a semifinal contest than one being played in the second round. Our kids toughed it out when they had to. We’re happy to move on.”

For Warde, which completed its season with a 17-8 record, Shania Osborne scored 14 points, and Iliana Krasniqi scored 13.

“We just couldn’t find a way to get over that mountain tonight,” said Warde head coach Dave Danko. “We kept chipping and got it down to four and I liked the way we were playing at the time. But Trumbull showed why they’re the number one team in the state. They never lost their composure.

No. 11 Stamford, the defending Class LL champion and the runner-up in this year’s FCIAC tournament, traveled to Glastonbury (18-4) on Friday and knocked off the sixth-seeded Tomahawks, 67-52.

The lead was just four points in the fourth quarter when the Knights went on an 11-0 run to put the win in the books.

“The biggest difference in our game tonight was moving the ball,” Stamford junior Alexa Kellner told Scott Ericson of the Stamford Advocate. “They couldn’t stay with our passes. Once they got close we just stayed with our defense and jumped right back in. Our post play was great tonight and we had a good inside-out going.”

Kellner was the game’s hottest shooter, racking up 23 points, while Marthe Guirand added 18 to the ledger.

The Norwalk Bears, seeded No. 9 in Class LL, suffered a tough loss to NFA in their second round game on Friday, as NFA rallied from an 18-point deficit to win, 52-50.

Mackenzie Burke hit a pair of free throws with 58.2 seconds remaining to put NFA ahead for good at 51-50.

Ashley Wilson led the Bears with 13 points, and Asiah Knight scored 12, as Norwalk ended its season with a 17-6 record

State Tournament Scoreboard

Class LL, Second Round – Fri., March 3

NFA 52, Norwalk 50

Stamford 67, Glastonbury 52

Trumbull 44, Warde 34

Class L, Second Round – Thurs., March 2

Pomperaug 59, St. Joseph 31

Class LL First Round – Tues., Feb. 28

Warde 65, Hamden 56

Norwalk 40, Simsbury 34

Stamford 61, Staples 40

Trumbull 47, Darien 34

Conard 56, Greenwich 34

Enfield 79, Westhill 40

Hall 49, Danbury 30

New London 58, Wilton 38

Southington 70, Ridgefield 60

Class L First Round – Mon., Feb. 27

St. Joseph 56, Harding 30

Class LL Qualifying Round – Fri., Feb. 24

Darien 53, West Haven 52

Wilton 57, East Hartford 37

Westhill 66, Wilbur Cross 45