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Tuesday, February 20 Sports

Amity knocks Darien girls out of state tournament

As the old cliche goes, this game was very much like a boxing match.

Every time Darien punched, Amity hit back--only twice as hard.

The Lady Spartans rode a 20-3 midgame stretch to end the Blue Wave's season with a 57-39 defeat Monday night in the first round of the Class LL girls basketball state tournament. Darien (9-12) challenged Amity (19-2) with early runs in the second and fourth quarter, but couldn't narrow its deficit to less than 11 points after halftime. Blue Wave seniors Emily Stein and Kelly Karczewski recorded 16 and 15 points respectively, in the final game of their high school careers.

"We just gave up easy layups," Stein said. "Once we picked up our defense, that's where we got our points on offense. Every game there's always one quarter that kind of hurts us, but we tried to dig ourselves out."

After leading for much of the opening frame, Darien was outscored 15-3 in the second quarter due to miscues and missed opportunities. Sophomore Elise Graham led her senior-laden Amity squad with 19 points, many of which came off of turnovers. The Lady Spartans will now move on to the second round with nine seniors, who combined for the remainder of the team's 38 points against Darien.

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"We told our seniors to play like it was their last game and the underclassmen to play for their seniors," Amity coach Michelle Martinik said. "That's what they did today. They came together and executed well."

Armed with a 15-point halftime lead, Amity sunk the next two baskets of the game, before Darien at last responded with a couple of three-pointers. Then, the teams battled evenly until Darien's Avery Maley nailed another three at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Maley's shot trimmed the Lady Spartans' lead to 11, the slimmest it had been in over 10 minutes of gameplay.

"Everyone responded well in the second half," Darien coach Kate Lauten said. "I feel like the scoreboard didn't depict how close the game really felt at times, but credit to Amity for putting the ball in the hoop when we couldn't."

Next, as Amity did all game, the designated home team responded with a flurry of pressure and points. Molly Ronan cashed in on an old-fashioned three-point play, which preceded another forced Darien turnover on the subsequent possession. Then, the Lady Spartans strung out a 9-0 run that not only closed out the game, but extended their margin to its largest point of the night at 19.

Nevertheless, the Blue Wave held their heads high.

"We might not be the best team, but we definitely gave a lot of heart and effort," Stein said. "I think that shows a lot of character, so I'm proud of our team."



Amity 57, Darien 39

DARIEN (9-12)

Kelly Karczewski 6 0-2 15 Emily Stein 6 4-6 16 Emily Coyle 0 1-2 1 Kaleigh Morrill 1 2-2 4 Avery Maley 1 0-0 3 Katie Richter 0 0-0 0 Casey Ryan 0 0-0 0 Julia Cornacchia 0 0-0 0 Annie Wright 0 0-0 0Catherine Arrix 0 0-0 0 Kendra Fitzpatrick 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 7-12 39.

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AMITY (19-2)

Mikaila Schmitt 3 2-2 8 Janae Graham 3 0-0 6 Chloe Brinton 2 0-0 7 Elise Graham 9 1-1 19 Kathleen Feng 1 0-0 2 Amanda Vecchio 1 0-0 2 Molly Ronan 5 1-1 11 Ashley Wu 0 0-0 0 Kaitlin Thomas 0 0-0 0 Alexia Gibbs 1 0-0 2 Isabella Bierzewicz 0 0-0 0 Sarah Kilian 0 0-0 0 Emma Gehr 0 0-0 0 Melanie Houser 0 0-0 0 Janaya Young 0 0-0 0. Totals: 25 4-4 57.

DARIEN 11 3 12 13--39

AMITY 14 15 13 15--57

3-pointers: D--Karczewski 3, Stein 2, Maley A--Brinton