The Newtown High School girls’ basketball team ensured that it will continue its season once the regular campaign is complete by clinching a Class LL state playoff berth.
The Nighthawks did so by earning their eighth win of the season in a 41-20 triumph over visiting Weston on February 6. Newtown held a 16-2 lead after one quarter of play, and went ahead 28-6 at halftime before cruising past its winless foes.
Cassie Ekstrom had a dozen points as nine Nighthawks registered at least one point. Haley Ryan who, along with Ekstrom, sank a pair of 3-pointers, added six points. Eliza Eggleston had five, and Mali Klorczyk, Caroline Chocholak, and Mary Joe Rossi all scored four. Micaela Nowacki had three points, Kelly Merrick scored two, and Lauren Wilcox added one.
Newtown improved to 8-8 overall, then fell back to a game below .500 in a 52-41 loss at Pomperaug of Southbury two days later. Nonetheless, the Nighthawks carried an 8-4 mark in South-West Conference play into a visit to Stratford on February 11, and added another win with an easy 60-36 triumph.
Wilcox had 11 points, Haley Ryan dropped in ten points, Ekstrom pulled down 12 rebounds, and Lynch had six assists.
In between the latest two lopsided wins for the Nighthawks was the hard-fought setback to Pomperaug, Newtown’s second defeat to the Panthers this season. The latest setback saw plenty of fight from the Hawks as they trimmed a 15-point third-quarter deficit down to six early in the fourth before the Panthers pulled away.
Ekstrom sank a 3-pointer following a Merrick block at the other end, and Newtown was within 42-35 with 6:22 to play. Less than a half minute later, Merrick sank one of two foul shots to get the Hawks to within a half dozen points, but Newtown couldn’t get any closer.
Merrick led Newtown with 13 points, Wilcox had eight, Klorczyk had seven, and Ekstrom added six.
Newtown carried a 9-9 overall mark, and 9-4 record in SWC play into the Friday, February 14 visit to Masuk of Monroe. Newtown will close out the regular season when Bunnell of Stratford visits on Tuesday, February 18. Both games will start at 7 pm.
Newtown sits in a five-way tie, along with Masuk, New Milford, New Fairfield, and Pomperaug, atop the SWC’s Colonial Division.