Weaver Girls Brings Title Back To The City Of Hartford…Congrads Lady Beavers

by CTalentTv on March 17, 2012

UNCASVILLE – After the Weaver girls basketball team lost to Windham in the Class M championship game last year, the Beavers went to work.

“Since we lost, we’ve been nonstop,” Weaver coach Wendell Williams said.

“We’ve been working in the summer, fall leagues, playing together,” Weaver senior forward Kenya Stewart said. “We wanted a ring before we graduated. It definitely motivated us to get back here.”

As Williams predicted last year when he walked off the Mohegan Sun court, Weaver came back. Not only did the Beavers return as the top seed in Class M, but they won their first title, beating CCC opponent Tolland 55-47 Friday night at Mohegan Sun.

It was the second state title won by a Hartford girls basketball team; Bulkeley won the first, in Class L in 2006.

“It felt good, especially to be a senior and to go home with this championship,” said guard Fifi Walcott, who led Weaver with 16 points. “We came last time and we lost and it was not a good feeling.”

Senior Kristin Schatzlein, the state Gatorade Player of the Year who is heading to Fairfield next year, led second-seeded Tolland (24-4) with 32 points.

Tolland also had 32 turnovers. Weaver (25-2) had 16 steals.

“I think they got in our heads and we kind of struggled handling the ball,” Schatzlein said. “We just let them get to us.”

Weaver led 16-11 after the first quarter, but neither team could score in the second and the score was tied at 20 at halftime.

Schatzlein had 16 of Tolland’s 20 points.

“We all know about her but at the beginning of the game; nobody wanted to really step up and put a hand in her face,” Williams said. “She had an Ashley Perez [the St. John's-bound Manchester guard] flashback on us. It was crazy. I’m turning around, going, ‘Who got this girl?’”

Tolland took a 25-21 lead on a Schatzlein free throw with 5:23 left, but then Jocelyn Davis scored four in a row for Weaver to tie the score; Walcott broke the tie with a three. Stewart (eight points, nine rebounds) had six consecutive points, including a putback of a free throw miss. When Davis hit another shot, suddenly Weaver led 36-25.

“What I was really trying to do was get up six or eight points so I could start putting the pressure on,” Williams said. “That’s when we went all-out pressure and we really extended the lead.

“We pretty much contributed to them getting the lead with our shot selection. We told the girls to be patient on offense and things started working from there.”

The Eagles had one last gasp, cutting the lead to four, 49-45, with 1:10 left in the game on a Schatzlein three, but Weaver was off again, in a flurry of steals and layups.

“I got these girls that work, work and work,” Williams said. “They’ve got a lot of pride. One of our things is ‘hustle and heart set us apart,’ and that’s what you saw in the last six minutes of the game. It was all about hustle, and it was definitely all about heart.”

LORI RILEY: The Hartford Courant

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