By MICHAEL LETENDRE
NORTH HAVEN – A couple members of the girls basketball team from St. Paul Catholic weren’t exactly done with the 2016-17 campaign with the completion of all the state championship games.
At the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Girls Basketball All-Star Festival from North Haven High School on Monday, March 20, both Brigid Johndrow and Alexa Morneault were back on the hardwood for one last curtain call.
The duo played on the all-star squad for the Class S/M West squad along with players from Canton, Thomaston, Notre Dame-Fairfield among other towns and squads.
And it was one last chance for St. Paul Catholic head coach Joe Mone to see his two senior players in action.
“It’s nice. We’ve been pretty lucky as a program almost, every year, to get one senior in there” said Mone about the CHSCA all-star classic. “I figured Brigid [would play] and it’s nice to get Lexa in there too.”
It was a very close battle between the two talented squads as the lead went back and forth until the very end.
The East squad ended up squandering a 76-68 edge with 3:11 remaining to play as the West used a 12-2 push to grab an 80-78 win.
“It’s good for the kids,” said Mone of the game. “They practice hard, they play hard all year. It’s nice to see at least a couple of your kids being able to play one last game before they move on to college.”
While the typical all-star game has just about every player looking for their own offense, throwing up shots and the like, the Johndrow/Morneault duo were just trying to fit in, helping set up their teammates for hoops and playing defense.
Neither scored a point but Morneault chipped in with a couple rebounds – she even got to fire off one of her patented three-pointers which was just off the mark – while Johndrow added a couple assists and two steals, bringing a little defense to the up-and-down affair.
“I think when you get into these all-star games, a lot of kids just have [shut] it down,” said Mone. “Some of their seasons ended early. For our kids, pick-up basketball is probably not our forte. They’re going to be looking for the extra pass and this is one of those games where you’re going to see showcase through offensive abilities.”
Off the two point victory, the West’s Julia Quinn from Thomaston was named the Most Valuable Player for her squad and Jocelyn Luizzi (18 points, six rebounds) earned the same honor for her East team.
But the big thing for Mone was that he was able to see his two players, a duo Mone called good kids, strut their stuff on the court just one more time.
“I like to come back and support them,” said Mone. “They worked hard for four years. It’s the last time you’re going to be able to see them play. It might not be a St. Paul Catholic uniform but it’s still St. Paul kids.”
Here’s a look at the roster of each team from the all-star challenge:
S-M East Roster
*Nikki Bitinaitis (Cromwell)
*Jocelyn Luizzi (Bacon Academy)
*Marissa Newell (Old Saybrook)
*Abby Bundy (Lyman Memorial)
*Caitlin Dittman (St. Bernard)
*Katy Konow (Lyman Memorial)
*Kayla Jean-Pierre (Waterford)
*Stephanie Rodrique (East Windsor)
*Gianna Russell (East Hampton)
*Shingyah Williams (SMSA)
*Shania Shorter (Prince Tech)
*Shania Slyman (Windham)
Coaches: Kelly Maher (Cromwell) and Bob Lengyel (East Windsor).
S-M West Roster
*Brigid Johndrow (St. Paul Catholic)
*Alexa Morneault (St. Paul Catholic)
*Emily Briggs (Canton)
*Casey Carangelo (Thomaston)
*Kelly Carucci (Suffield)
*Whitney Fulton (Notre Dame–Fairfield)
*Precious Montgomery (Notre Dame–Fairfield)
*Julia Quinn (Thomaston)
*McKenzie Ruscyk (Suffield)
*Abbe Skinner (Canton)
*Faith Thurmond (Seymour)
*Raelynn Voislow (Windsor Locks).
Coaches: Bob McMahon (Thomaston) and Brian Cleveland (Seymour).