Ludlowe defeats Warde for Todd Burger title

Caroline Pangallo scored 20 points and Fairfield Ludlowe overturned a 13-point halftime deficit to defeat Fairfield Warde, 51-50, in the final of the Todd Burger Holiday Tournament on Dec 30.
Pangallo was named tournament most valuable player, as the Falcons improved to 6-0 with the non-league victory. Ludlowe’s Pauline Blatt was also named to the all-tournament team, along with Warde’s Kenzie Burns and Tiara Fountain.
“One of the things we talked about is mental toughness, and that doesn’t mean hardness, that doesn’t mean strength,” Falcon coach Sarah Huntington said. “That means rising above some of the stuff that doesn’t go our way and this was really about toughness tonight for these girls.
“They rose above having that deficit and really believed in each other and believed in themselves. I really believe those intangibles are what carried us.”
Fountain scored 16 points to lead the Mustangs, including a driving layup as time expired. Prior to that, Pangallo hit both ends of a one-and-one with 7.6 seconds left to stake Ludlowe to a 51-48 lead.
Fountain got into the paint looking for contact on the ensuing Warde possession, but the Falcons kept their defensive composure to secure the victory.
“We had a bad quarter, they deserved to win,” Warde coach Dave Danko said. “They’re showing they are a playoff team. The way I look it is you’ve got to learn from this loss.”
That bad quarter for Warde was the third, where the Falcons outscored the Mustangs 19-7 to pull within one point heading into the final frame.
Pangallo, who scored 16 points in the second half, poured in 10 points in the third quarter.
Her 3-pointer from the left wing capped an 11-0 Ludlowe run with two minutes left in the period, before Fountain answered with a basket.
Trish Auray’s deep jumper with nine seconds left pulled the Falcons to within 36-35 at the end of the third.
After baskets from Regan Steed and Alex McKinnon gave Ludlowe its first lead of the game, 39-36, Fountain connected on a 3-pointer to tie the game back up.
Steed’s free throw with 4:24 left, on the heels of a Julia Pangallo basket, staked Ludlowe to a three-point edge at 44-41.
Warde’s Sarah Cotto was fouled shooting a 3-pointer with 3:08 left to play, and the sophomore hit all three from the stripe to forge another deadlock.
Caroline Pangallo then fed McKinnon (nine points) for a basket in the paint with 2:17 remaining, giving Ludlowe the lead for good at 47-44.
With 7.6 seconds left, Pangallo converted both ends of a one-and-one, extending the margin back to three, after Burns had knocked down a baseline jumper for Warde.
Fountain’s basket closed out the contest, and Ludlowe held on for the thrilling win.
“We are working on our defensive slides and moving our feet,” said Huntington of her team’s ability to avoid fouling the slashing Fountain on the game’s final play.
Ludlowe’s offense started the game off in a lull, as the Falcons did not score a field goal until the 5:13 mark of the second quarter.
McKinnon’s basket, off of a Blatt assist, cut Warde’s lead to 15-10.
The Mustangs countered with a 14-6 burst to close the first half, with Fountain’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer arming Warde with a 29-16 halftime advantage.
The Falcons came out of the locker room with some strategic adjustments that changed the flow of the game, allowing them to take control of the game in the third quarter — despite their one-point deficit heading into the fourth.
“We changed a little bit of our strategy. We tried to fix some things that weren’t really working for us,” Huntington said. “You have to give Warde credit, they like to play frenzied tempo. They like to get in your head, that’s what their MO is. We knew coming in this was going to be a tough game.”
Warde will look to shake off the defeat and focus on earning a return trip to Ludlowe for the league tournament in February.
“It’s a non-league game. We are still undefeated in the league,” Danko said. “Our goal is to get back in here in February playing in the semifinals… We need to get back here and play in the FCIAC semifinals.”
In the consolation game of the Burger tournament, Brookfield defeated Brien McMahon, 50-35.

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