BRISTOL – The Naugatuck Valley League girls basketball tournament began this past week as the St. Paul Catholic squad ranked first in the fray opened play against No. 8 Oxford (10-8) from the Maltby Street Gymnasium in Bristol.
The top seeded Falcons went a perfect 18-0 in NVL play and were three games better than second place Sacred Heart (15-3) in the overall league standings.
St. Paul Catholic easily won the Iron Division championship, flattening all the competition in the five-team league.
Naugatuck was the runner-up in the Iron and started the NVL Tournament on the road as the fifth seeded squad against No. 4 Ansonia (14-4).
Here’s the complete tournament rundown of the quarterfinal games:
No. 1 St. Paul Catholic (18-0 NVL record) vs. No. 8 Oxford (10-8)
*The Falcons won 50-29 in a romp.
No. 5 Naugatuck (12-5) at No. 4 Ansonia (14-4)
*Naugy survived, defeating Ansonia in overtime by a 52-45 upset final.
No. 7 Watertown (11-7) at No. 2 Sacred Heart (15-3)
*The Indians also just slipped by, defeating the Hearts 37-36 in a major upset.
No. 6 Seymour (12-6) at No. 3 Holy Cross (14-3)
*Cross zipped up a six-point win over the Wildcats to advance.
Schedule – Monday, Feb. 18
from Kennedy High School
No. 1 St. Paul Catholic versus No. 5 Naugatuck
No. 3 Holy Cross versus No. 7 Watertown
No. 1 ST. PAUL CATHOLIC 50, No. 8 OXFORD 29
The Falcons led 15-1 out the first quarter gate and cruised to a 50-29 win from Bristol.
Janessa Gonzalez scored a game-high 18 points, Jade Udoh added 12 while teammate Olivia Heslin pumped in 10 to lead the Falcons to the win.
The home squad – leading 24-8 at the half – outscored the Wolverines 24-9 in the third period to lead 48-17 with eight minutes remaining in the game.
St. Paul Catholic, 19-2 overall, moved on to challenge No. 5 Naugatuck in the NVL semifinal round on Monday, February 18 from the Jack Taglia Gymnasium from Kennedy High School in Waterbury.
NOTES…At the completion of the regular season, Janessa Gonzalez was the second leading scorer in the NVL with 365 points (18.3 per-game) while Jade Udoh was fourth with 329 (16.5).
Also for the St. Paul Catholic program, Olivia Heslin scored 107 points for an average of 5.4 points-per-game while Emma Cretella added 3.7.
After the completion of the NVL Tournament, the Falcons will get its shot in the Class S tournament as the squad will be ranked third and could get as many as three home games if the locals can win out.
St. Paul Catholic is scheduled to face No. 30 Coventry (8-12) in first round action from Bristol.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Michael Letendre, email him at MLetendre@BristolObserver.com.