Lancers show off inside game

Nakia Mabin (52) defends Bunnell High’s Shannon Hofmiller during Notre Dame’s five-point win over the Lady Bulldogs. (Photo by David G. Whitham)

Nakia Mabin (52) defends Bunnell High’s Shannon Hofmiller during Notre Dame’s five-point win over the Lady Bulldogs.
(Photo by David G. Whitham)

It’s simple in its execution, difficult to defend, and coach Eric DeMarco’s Notre Dame of Fairfield’s girls basketball team used its high-post game to take control when the Lancers took on South-West Conference rival Bunnell of Stratford at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport on Jan. 27.
Clinging to a 29-26 halftime lead, Notre Dame’s junior Nakia Mabin took a pass at the foul line and looked to the block, where senior forward Briana Mann had posted up.
Mabin gave her the ball, Mann used her hip to get past a defender and put the ball in the basket.
Next trip down, Mabin went low in the lane and caught the pass from Mann high.
She kept the ball raised so it couldn’t be stripped away, and used a drop step to get to the rim for another bucket.
They repeated the process, with Mann scoring two of her 20 points, before tallied again inside six feet to establish a 37-25 lead.
Notre Dame improved to 5-8 overall and snapped a three-game losing streak with the win over the Bulldogs (5-8).
Bunnell had taken a 15-6 lead into the second quarter, behind the scoring of Jess Bogdwicz and Erin Koletar.
The fleet-of-foot and quick-handed Kayla Croswell provided Notre Dame with four of its six points off run-out hoops after steals.
Alexandra Danas opened the second period with the first of her three 3-pointers in the frame, and Notre Dame pulled level at 21 each on a Mabin basket with 2:30 remaining in the half.
Mann, off the dribble, fed Danas for her third trey at the 1:07 mark and Dayniera Artis buried a jumper from the corner to stake the Lancers to its three-point lead at the break.
Bunnell’s Shannon Hofmiller kept her team within range with three baskets in the third quarter, but Notre Dame took a 40-31 lead into the final quarter.
It was 40-35 when Mann, who added five assists to her stat sheet, beat a trap and stuck a foul line jumper.
Coming out of a Bunnell timeout, Precious Montgomery was awarded for an offensive board with two made foul shots for a 44-33 lead with 3:51 remaining.
Kim Rodriguez, Raina Ceryak and Yasmine Walker helped run the offense that kept the Bunnell defense chasing, with Mabin (12 points, 12 rebounds), Mann and Montgomery answering each basket by the Bulldogs.
In the final minute and a half, Bunnell’s Jillian Pastor converted a three-point play, Hofmiller made a brace of free throws, and Koletar scored on a drive from the wing.
That run cut the Lancer lead to 52-49 with 34 seconds remaining, but Mann made two free throws, the first one high off the rim that carried back through to hold off the Bulldogs.

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