MERIDEN — Maloney girls basketball suffered its first defeat of the season on Tuesday night against a talented Enfield squad. The Eagles suffocated the Spartans on defense in the CCC crossover clash at the Benjamin P. Nessing Gymnasium.
The Eagles, now 10-1, held Maloney without a field goal for 16 minutes of game time — from 5:30 to go first quarter to 5:30 to go in the third — and ultimately won the game 45-23.
Enfield deployed its size and man-to-man defense to great effect.
“I felt our girls decided that they were going to play together defensively,” Enfield coach Jay Gaucher said. “They stuck to their assignments and played hard and hungry today. They played unselfish and that led to easy baskets. We got it done on the defensive end and I'm so proud of the girls.”
The Spartans (7-1) opened the game with a 5-2 lead behind a Gracey Massicotte trey and a bucket from Jaylice Rosario (9 points, 11 rebounds). After that, they were outscored 18-2 for the remainder of the half as Enfield built a 20-7 lead.
Maloney was held to 2-for-15 shooting from the field in the first half. The Spartans also turned the ball over 16 times.
Enfield only turned the ball over five times in the opening 16 minutes.
Enfield senior forward Megan Marcotte (8 points, 8 rebounds) set the tone for the Eagles by knocking down her first three shots. Two were mid-range baseline jumpers.
Alyssa Rossignol (16 points) and Amyah Rosado (10 points) both had five points apiece at the half for Enfield. Both are the leading scorers for the Eagles this winter.
But, on this night, it was all about the Eagles’ defense. Amal Bahil’s two free throws accounted for the only points for the Spartans in the second quarter, a frame in which the hosts shot 0-for-7 with 11 turnovers.
Bahil was second in scoring for the night for Maloney with seven points.
Enfield was 5-for-13 in the second quarter and hurt Maloney on the boards.
Maloney’s scoring drought lasted exactly 16 minutes. Nadia Berrios Lugo made a layup with 5:30 to go in the third quarter that made it 22-9. Rosario assisted on the hoop and then scored on a drive a minute late as Maloney closed to within 22-11.
Enfield responded with an 8-3 run in the final five minutes of the third quarter. Rossignol finished the quarter with a drive. Mia Daly also rattled in a 3-ball for the Eagles, who led 30-14 after three quarters.
Rossignol started the fourth quarter with a trey and Amyah Rosado added a putback as the Eagles went up 35-14.
Taylin Byers and Sydney Marshall had the task of covering Rosario, Maloney's top scorer. Rosario’s nine points were her season low.
“Byers did a nice job defensively tonight,” Gaucher said. “Marshall also did well for us on her, coming back from COVID protocol. We did a good job playing her physical and did a nice job on help-side defense as well.
“This is a good win for us. Hopefully, it will catapult us into the second half of the season.”
Maloney coach John Viera said Tuesday's game was Maloney's biggest in his six-year tenure at the helm. He said it will be a learning experience for the team.
“Enfield is legit,” Vieira said. “They are big and they took us out of our perimeter game. Our shots weren't falling and we also missed some bunnies in the first half.”
Vieira said the Spartans got away from their fundamentals.
“We didn’t give up and we competed," Vieira said. “We just have to work harder in spots and do the little things that we need to do to beat teams like this we are going to face in March.
“We are going to learn from it. We have to bounce back quickly with back-to-back games coming up. But credit Enfield. They are a very good team with one of the best one-two punches in the state in Rosado and Rossignol.”