St. Joseph cagers defeat Warde AAU in overtime

Caitlin Sharnick knocked down a 3-pointer off an assist from Tess Lockwood to give St. Joseph the lead and Maite Gritsko added a pair of free throws to lift the Cadets to a 44-42 overtime victory over Warde AAU in week six action in the Stratford Girls Summer High School Basketball League at the Birdseye Rec Complex in Stratford on Aug. 8.

Warde’s Shania Osborne made a free throw with seven seconds left in the 20-minute second half tied the game at 34 to force the extra session.

After Osborne used her size advantage to give Warde a 36-34 lead, Gritsko found Mairead Donahue inside for a bucket before Jenna Getta’s 3-pointer put Warde back in front.

Sharnick then found Shannon O’Meara spotting up, and the junior fired over Getta’s outstretched hand to drain a trey with 1:16 remaining in overtime.

Osborne scored again to make it 41-39, but Sharnick’s shot from beyond the arc gave St. Joseph the lead for good.

Donahue and Nicole Sakakini are senior players for the Cadets, who were coached by Dennis Lindwall.

“The team started slow, but is getting better every game,” Lindwall said. “Our defense is strong, as is the outside shooting.

“We had to be on our shots tonight because they (Warde) made it difficult inside.”

Juniors Sharnick, Lockwood and Gritsko got the start, along with Donahue and classmate O’Meara.

Donahue (nine points) got St. Joseph on the board and junior Katie Gardella made a free throw before Gritsko buried a 3-pointer.

Donahue’s turn-around jumper and O’Meara trey off a pass from Lockwood tied the game at 11 with six minutes left on the clock in the first half.

O’Meara’s trey came off a transition pass from Lockwood, and her steal after a tipped pass by sophomore Erika Horvath led to Sakakini’s breakaway basket for a 16-11 lead.

Warde looked to climb closer, but Sakakini assisted on Sharnick’s 3-pointer in the final minute for a 19-16 Cadet advantage at the break.

Warde tied the game early in the second half, but despite concentrating its defense on the perimeter, couldn’t stop O’Meara from burying the third of her five 3-pointers.

Emily Robertson’s free throw and Gardella’s basket after a rebound kept the locals in the lead, before Osborne canned two free throws to deadlock the game at 25 with 8:30 remaining.

Lockwood, Donahue and Gritsko each hit one-of-two attempts from the line over the next three minutes.

Donahue’s hustle rebound on Gritsko’s miss gave St. Joseph possession and led to her five-footer and a 30-27 lead at the 2:42 mark.

Claudia Tucci brought Warde back within a point and Iliana Krasniqi’s putback basket gave them a 31-30 lead.

O’Meara (15 points) hit another 3-pointer and Lockwood’s steal led to a Sharnick free throw.

Osborne (17 points) backed her defender down low and put the ball in the glass with 14 seconds on the clock, and her free throw extended the game.

In other action, Warde topped Bunnell, 30-19, and Ludlowe defeated Shelton 1 by a score of 45-32.

This week, Stratford/Amistad Academy meets Warde at 5, Shelton 2 takes on Warde AAU at 6 and Bridge Academy plays Shelton 1 at 7.

Bunnell, St. Joseph and Ludlowe have byes.