BROOKFIELD — The No. 20 Lyman Hall girls basketball team picked up its first state tournament victory in five years with a 57-47 victory over No. 13 Brookfield in CIAC Class L first-round action on Monday night.
The Trojans (10-12) did it with defense, holding the host Bobcats (11-11) without a field goal for an 8:30 span of the second half.
With the win, LH will face SCC rival Hillhouse, the No. 4 seed, in New Haven in the second round on Thursday night.
“This was a great win for our team,” Lyman Hall senior Kailey Lipka said. “This was the first time we have made it out of the first round of the state tournament since I have been at Lyman Hall.
“All of the girls played their hearts out. We were staying in our man-to-man defense and we helped each other on defense. We did our best to limit them to one shot.”
Lyman Hall led for nearly the entire contest. Brookfield held only wo leads in the contest — 6-5 in the first quarter on back-to-back 3’s from Faith Kanych and Holly Fleming, and then 25-24 in the opening seconds of the third quarter.
The Trojans led 24-22 at the half.
Not surprisingly, 1,000-point scorers led the way for their respective squads. Lipka had 20 points for Lyman Hall. Brookfield senior Jenna Joshi had 17 for the Bobcats.
Hailey Bruneau added 11 points for LH. Julia Capello scored nine.
“We felt really good coming into the game,” LH coach Tom Lipka said. “We had a good second half of the season and led for much of the game. It was big for us to play from in front because they are a good foul shooting team.
“I thought the girls really came to play and the effort was outstanding. This was a big win for our seniors.”
Lyman Hall led 12-10 after one quarter and enjoyed its biggest advantage of the first half, 22-16, when Kailey Lipka swished a elbow jumper with 2:14 left before the break.
Joshi drilled a trey with two seconds left in the first half to close the LH advantage to 24-22.
The Trojans used an extended man-to-man throughout and pressed on many occasions after made baskets. Lipka had the duty of marking Joshi the entire game.
Meanwhile, the Bobcats used an extended zone, challenging LH to make outside shots. The Trojans were 10-for-25 from the field in the first half. Brookfield was only 5-for-19 in the first 16 minutes, but 8-for-12 from the charity stripe.
Stesha Grossman opened the second half with a 3-pointer for Brookfield as the Bobcats took their first and only lead of the second half, 25-24.
Lyman Hall responded with quick 7-0 run that featured a Capello layup, a Bruneau trey and a Lipka steal and layup.
“We had 25 turnovers,” Brookfield coach Lisa Schang noted. “You can’t come close to winning a game with 25 turnovers. The first half was good, being down by two. We just turned the ball over too much.”
A Capello 3-ball gave the Trojans their biggest lead of the game, 34-27, with 4:24 left in the third quarter.
Shortly after, Bruneau picked up her fourth foul. Even with Bruneau on the bench, the Trojans continued to attack the basket and maintained a 37-30 edge after three quarters.
LH opened the fourth with a Lipka trey and an old-fashioned three-point play from Theresa Lynch.
Lyman Hall’s lead expanded to 47-33 with 3:47 remaining on back-to-back steals and buckets by Lipka.
“I’m really excited,” Lynch said. “This gives us a lot of hope for Thursday. This showed we are good enough to compete in the state tournament. I think we stayed strong and kept our minds in it throughout the entire game.
“I’m excited for Thursday, but it’s going to be a tough game against HIllhouse.”
The Academics defeated Lyman Hall twice this season.
“The first game, we were up at the half. The second game, we were within 10 in the third quarter,” Coach Lipka recounted. “They present some problems for us inside with their size. But we are coming into the game with confidence and hoping to do the best we can.”