To some extent the Joel Barlow High girls basketball team took the pressure off itself heading into the final week of the regular season.
With two more games left to play, the Falcons needed to win at least one to qualify for a spot in the South-West Conference playoffs. They went right to work when they visited Brookfield on Monday. Making use of fast-break points the whole night, they took an early lead and did not let up in a 50-28 win.
It marks the third straight year that Barlow has made the playoffs.
“I give the seniors a lot of credit,” said Barlow head coach Joe Carollo, citing Emma Scavo, Shannon Gilbert and Lily Taeuber. Defensively, they were talking, they were all sharing the ball.”
The Falcons trailed only once. Brookfield’s Jenna Melchione’s early field goal got her team on the board first but the Falcons countered with a 10-0 run with the help of a pair of three-pointers by Taeuber. Jenna Joshi’s two free throws late in the period stopped the streak, as the Falcons led 10-4 after one frame.
Gilbert’s three-pointer opened up the second quarter for the Falcons, who increased their lead to 11 (25-14) at halftime. When play resumed, their defense stepped up, holding the hosts to single digits in each of the last two quarters. At the other end of the court Barlow continued to drive to the basket.
“We just wanted to go out and play our game and beat them in transition, which is important,” said sophomore guard Annie Tamallanca, who had 12 points, including a three-pointer. “I think we did a really great job at that tonight. We shared the ball a lot and it was balanced scoring.”
Taeuber led Barlow with 15 points, including two three-pointers. Gilbert also scored in double digits with 10, including two three-pointers.
Julia Shapiro and Kinsey Colby each scored two for Barlow, which will be either the seventh or the eighth seed in the tournament.
“They deserved to be in SWCs,” said Carollo, whose team will play in the quarterfinals on Friday against an opponent to be determined. “I’m just happy we did this tonight.”
Barlow received a preview of what it might face early in the playoffs when it hosted Notre Dame of Fairfield last Wednesday, Feb. 8. Down by 12 points going into the last quarter, the Falcons battled back and even took the lead before succumbing 41-40 to the defending SWC champs.
Barlow was up 40-39 late in the action when Gabrielle Joseph’s field goal put the Lancers back in the lead with six seconds to play. This was enough time for the Falcons to take a midrange shot, but they missed.
Taeuber led Barlow with 18 points, including two three-pointers. Mullin also scored in double digits with 11.
Tamallanca scored four with one three-pointer and Kinsey Colby sank three. Scavo and Gilbert had two apiece.