TERRYVILLE - After pulling the game within five points in the final seconds of the third quarter, the Terryville girls basketball team witnessed one of the crazier shots one can see as Shepaug freshman Brooke Donaghey faded away from the corner and drilled a momentum-changing 3-point basket, extending the Spartans’ lead to 32-24 entering the final period of play.
That big shot was key in a 44-36 Shepaug victory on Tuesday night in the first game of the season for both teams.
“That was definitely the game-changing moment I think,” Terryville player McKenzie Huria said. “They got a lot of confidence from that and they were more pumped up, so we have to work on getting back in the game in situations like that.”
Other than early in the first quarter, Terryville didn’t hold a lead all game and was struggling to generate any sort of offense.
“I don’t think our offense is smooth at all right now,” Kangaroos head coach Tom Morgan said. “McKenzie [Huria] is doing everything she can do, but these other kids have never been in position to be scorers. They’ve been role players and now they have to think about scoring also. And it’s going to take a while because we just have one person that is taking all of our shots and other kids aren’t looking to score yet.”
Turnovers for the Kangaroos were big, as they turned the ball over throughout the contest and the speed of Shepaug helped it run the floor.
“Our passing wasn’t as good as it should be,” Terryville point guard Amy Roqi said. “We had some good passes to the middle. But we need to work on passing under pressure.”
The second half was better for the Kangaroos, after scoring just 12 points in the first half.
Terryville came out strong and Roqi was looking for her shot more and scored five points early on for the Kangaroos.
It was a more up-tempo offense both ways in the second, with each team running the floor.
“We definitely had better ball movement,” Huria said. “We got it to the high post. We looked for open shots in the outside on the wings, so we did good with that.”
Huria was the primary scorer for the Kangaroos in the game with 12 points, including a 3-pointer to start the second half.
The bigs for the Kangaroos, Alana Girch and Lauren Jacobs, both played strong defense, but struggled to capitalize on open looks down in the paint on the offensive end of the floor.
Girch finished second on the team with nine points, while Jacobs only made one shot in the game en route to three points.
The Kangaroos were looking for the two of them all game long.
Kennedy transfer Jackie Johnson was the first player off the bench for the Kangaroos, but struggled rushing her shots and was scoreless throughout.
For Shepaug, a pair of freshmen in Donaghey and Haylie Lasky, as well as sophomore Lucy Puskas, combined for 31 of the 44 Spartans points.
With the loss, Terryville starts its season 0-1 and will look to discover an identity with the new players seeing meaningful time.
The Spartans start the new season 1-0 after finishing 0-20 last year.
The Kangaroos’ schedule won’t get easier, as they will travel to take on Northwestern on Friday night at 7 p.m.
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org