WOODBRIDGE — With SCC Housatonic supremacy on the line, the Amity girls basketball team edged out Lyman Hall 35-33 in defensive grinder on Friday night at Amity Regional High School.
Both schools entered the contest at a perfect 3-0 in the Housy, with the winner gaining the upper hand heading into the second half of division action.
Early on, it looked as if it would be the Trojans who would possibly run away with it. They took the biggest lead of the game with 6:28 left in the first half, 13-6, thanks to a 7-0 run.
Krista Petersen started the surge with a trey from the top of the key late in the first quarter and then the Trojans knocked down their first two shots of the second quarter, a deep deuce from Taylor Mierzejewski and a jumper from Nicole Mierzejewski.
The Trojans went on a scoring drought for the next 3:36, however, and the Spartans answered with a 6-0 run with a Chloe Brinton (11 points) layup, then a lay-in and a jumper by Elsie Graham (18 points) that made the score 13-12.
The teams traded buckets in the closing minutes of the second quarter, with the Trojans holding a 17-15 halftime advantage.
The Trojans (9-2, 3-1 Housy) were able to build a six-point lead, 24-18, with 4:02 left in the first half on a Hailey Hergott 3-pointer and a drive to the hole by Nicole Mierzejewski (13 points).
Unfortunately for Lyman Hall, that bucket halfway through the third produced the last points the Trojans would get for the next 6:20.
Nicole Mierzejewski’s foul trouble didn’t help the LH offense either. She played a good part of the second half with four fouls.
“This was a frustrating loss,” Nicole Mierzejewski said.
“We were up most of the game and I think we just ran out of gas a little late in the game. But we will get another chance at them.”
The Spartans tied the game with a 6-0 run to close out the third quarter, leaving the score knotted at 24 heading into the fourth.
Brinton’s steal and layup in the opening seconds gave the home team its first lead of the game, 26-24.
The Spartans would never look back, but it wasn’t easy for them to hang on. They were happy to drain the clock at every opportunity to limit Lyman Hall possessions, even more when they finally took the lead.
Graham canned a deep two-point field goal with 4:19 left that gave Amity its biggest lead of the game at 32-27. Nicole Mierzejewski answered with a trey the next time the Trojans touched the ball to close the gap back to two.
The Spartans played keep-away for a while before LH was forced to foul Graham and she converted two to stretch the lead to 34-30 with 1:40 on the clock.
The LH offense immediately turned the ball over and the Trojans were forced to foul. Brinton missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving the Trojans life.
LH had two chances at uncontested layups, but couldn’t convert. Naomi Rascati was eventually fouled and calmly sank two free throws to bring Lyman Hall within 34-32 with 34.8 left.
The Trojans immediately fouled. Brinton made one of two from the line and the visitors secured the rebound.
Trailing by three, Taylor Mierzejewski (8 points) back-rimmed a shot just inside the arc, but was fouled. The guard hit the first and missed the second. The rebound went off of a Lyman Hall player out of bounce with 6.2 seconds left.
Amity (11-1, 4-0) inbounded the ball, avoided a Lyman Hall foul and celebrated a key conference win on its home floor.
“We knew this was going to be a tough game,” Amity coach Michelle Martinik said.
“We worked hard for three days and the girls put that into action really well. Defense is something we take pride on. We amped up the intensity in the second half.”
Lyman Hall coach Tom Lipka said it was a frustrating loss.
“We missed five bunny layups,” Lipka said. “Against a good team like that, it hurts. I thought defensively we played great to hold them to 35 points. They are a good defensive team. We had looks. We just couldn’t finish.”
The two teams will meet again on Feb. 11 at Lyman Hall at 7 p.m.