Panthers qualify for state tournament (Updated)

The Masuk High girls basketball edged New Milford High, 36-35, on Friday night in an SWC matchup at Strong Gymnasium.

With the victory, the Panthers qualified for the state tournament for the 40th year in a row — every year since the CIAC tournament’s inception.

“It’s nice,” Masuk coach Ann Odoy said. “Fortieth anniversary of Title IX. Fortieth year in the state tournament for us.”

Jamie Madden led Masuk (8-9) with 11 points and scored its final five points of the game, including a foul shot that snapped a 33-all tie with 1:46 left to play.

The Green Wave (8-9) had a chance to win the game with 3.4 seconds left, but Juliana Fusco and Emily Llerena saw their shots come up short.

Tori Schiebe added 10 points for Masuk, which won its fourth game in a row.

“It’s a big deal,” Madden said. “We’re into states now. People underestimated us at the beginning of the season.”

New Milford tied the game at 29 with 6:31 left to play, when Fusco and Jess Noteware hit back-to-back 3-pointers, the Green Waves only two makes of the night from beyond the arc (2-for-17 overall).

That led to a Masuk timeout, before Lauren MacDonald’s layup gave New Milford its first lead of the second half, 31-29 with 4:45 left to play.

Schiebe pull the Panthers even with a layup, before Madden snuck in on the weakside to grab an offensive rebound and converted the putback to stake Masuk to a 33-31 edge.

Llerena then hit a pair of free throws to forge a 33-33 deadlock, but Madden came up with a steal and was fouled with 1:46 remaining.

The junior guard made the first and missed the second, but Noteware misfired on the front end of a one-and-one.

Madden made the Green Wave pay on the other end, scoring a basket in the lane to increase Masuk’s lead to 36-33

With 24 seconds left, Lindsey Heaton tossed in a layup to get New Milford within one point, before Jana Migliaro missed the front end of a one-and-one with 8.9 seconds left.

The Green Wave got the ball across half court and called a timeout with 3.4 seconds remaining. Fusco got free and put up a layup that was off target. Llerena corralled the rebound and hoisted up a fadeaway at the horn, but that too was off the mark, as Masuk held on for its fourth straight win.

The Panthers started the season off at 1-6, culminating in a 43-25 blowout loss to Joel Barlow in Redding.

Since then, Masuk has posted a 7-3 record, with a road game at Stratford and a home game against New Fairfield left on the schedule.

“We’re getting better team chemistry,” Madden said. “We’ve started playing the whole 32 minutes.”

Masuk’s win streak came to an end on Tuesday night, when Brookfield High escaped with a 32-29 home victory.

Schiebe netted 21 of the Panthers’ 29 points, while Danielle Adams hauled in 10 rebounds.

Paulina Harron led the Bobcats (12-6) with 12 points.

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