Pauline Blatt leads team to victory

Fairfield Ludlowe’s Caroline Pangallo (23) goes where others fear to go, as Fairfield Warde’s Kaitlin McKenna (14), Tierra Fountain (32) and Rachel Maltz (22) defend on Tuesday night. Ludlowe won a 53-42 decision.
(Photo by Bill Bloxsom)

Coach Sarah Huntington asked her Fairfield Ludlowe girls basketball team to dig deep to break a 26-all halftime tie, and the Falcons responded with a 19-8 run in the third quarter on their way to a 53-42 victory over Fairfield Warde on Tuesday night.
“We ask the girls for three hustle plays per period,” Huntington said after Ludlowe improved to 7-8 overall and 7-9 in the FCIAC.
“The biggest thing we talked about at halftime was controlling the things we can control — and among those are hustle plays, getting to the ball first.”
Warde coach Dave Danko echoed his counterpart, after his Mustangs dropped to 9-6 overall and 8-5 in the FCIAC.
“Tonight wasn’t about us, it was about how they’re (Ludlowe) developing,” he said. “It’s about how they responded to our pressure and our defensive rotations.
“I liked the way we played in the first half, but I saw a little trend… Being outworked on the boards.
“I knew Pauline Blatt could be the difference. The glory is in the points, but Pauline is playing out of position at center and our Kaitlin (McKenna) battled, but they send two girls in.
“Good teams rise… They outworked us.”
Blatt was a consistent force for Ludlowe on her way to a 21-point, five-rebound performance. The junior scored six points in each of the first two periods, and scored nine markers in the get-away third frame.
Charlotte Blatt scored 10 points, Caroline Pangallo eight and Julie von Ehr six for the Falcons.
Michele Treglia scored 10 points, Tiara Fountain eight, and McKenna and Carley Strachen six for the Mustangs.
“We are usually a third-quarter team and our hustle and intensity really picked up,” Pauline Blatt said. “We were just feeling it as a team tonight. The support off the bench was great and that got us excited.”
Pauline Blatt scored the first four points of the third period. But Warde’s Mollie Kerrigan tallied inside and Treglia knocked in a baseline jumper off a Fountain assist to tie the game for the ninth time, and first in the second half, at 30.
Then von Ehr, a junior guard, began driving to the basket, and to the floor, with abandon.
“We came out after the half and stepped up our defensive rebounding,” said von Ehr, who finished with six points and a handful of assists.
“Playing Warde is emotional so we had to bring mental toughness. Our hustle plays led to offense.”
A four-pass possession in quick succession led to senior Sydney Foulk finding Pauline Blatt down low for a bucket.
After a Warde miss, von Ehr hit the hardwood to gather in a loose ball, which she gave to Charlotte Blatt, who in turn passed to Foulk for an eight-footer from the baseline.
There was no need for Danko to panic, as his team just couldn’t find an answer on offense.
“We go through spells where we don’t convert,” he said. “On defense, despite our best efforts, they just got to more balls then we did.”
Charlotte Blatt, a sophomore guard, led a fastbreak that saw Pauline Blatt finish for a 36-30 lead at the midway point of the third period.
Rachel Maltz answered with a hard-earned basket inside, but Pauline Blatt came away from a pile-up with possession and dished to sister Charlotte for another bucket.

Kaitlin McKenna drives finishes a drive for Fairfield Warde to tie its game with Ludlowe at 26 on Friday night.
(Photo by Bill Bloxsom)

Pangallo pulled up in transition and caught nothing but net from the foul line, and Ludlowe had a 40-32 lead with 2:41 left in the frame.
Out of a Warde timeout, Strachen, who played well off the bench for the Mustangs, made a difficult turn-around shot from the lane off an assist from Kenzie Burns.
But, Von Ehr snuck inside and scored off a rebound, and Warde turned the ball over its next two trips on steals from von Ehr and Pangallo, who completed the canto with a contested leaner for a 45-34 Falcon lead.
“Yes, we’re starting something special here,” Huntington said. “Our three seniors (Foulk, Alex Poitras and the injured Brittney Bentivenga) have laid down the foundation, and everyone else has stepped up.”
Warde looked to get back in it, but were unable to convert on multiple chances on early possessions and a pair of blocked shots by McKenna.
Lejla Markovic buried a 3-pointer, but Poitras worked hard to knock down a putback.
After Warde missed a breakaway, von Ehr didn’t, and the lead stayed in double digits the rest of the way.
Warde led by as many as five points in the first period, as Fountain had an assist and a 3-pointer, and Burns, Treglia and Strachen added buckets.
Pangallo assisted on a Pauline Blatt hoop, Charlotte Blatt scored off a rebound, and Regan Steed knocked in a brace of free throws for a 12-11 Ludlowe lead at the break.
Ludlowe was 12-of-14 shooting from the stripe in the first half and finished the game 15-for-20. Warde was 4-for-4 at the half and 7-for-8 overall.
McKenna, Kerrigan and Maltz were active on defense inside, and a pair of steals at the outset of the second quarter led to a pair of run-out hoops for Treglia.
Pauline Blatt, Pangallo and von Ehr answered for Ludlowe, but Fountain made another trey and McKenna hit two free throws.
“It seemed we were winning the first half, but everytime I looked up thinking we were up eight or 10, it was only four or five,” Danko said. “We used up a lot of energy.”
McKenna scored off an assist from Burns and then blocked a Ludlowe shot before the buzzer and the rivals went to the locker room tied at 26.

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