By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – In scholastic basketball state tournament play, the later rounds of advancement should be a bit tougher, right?
Well, the girls squad from St. Paul Catholic High School refused to comply to that standard and in its Class S quarterfinal showdown against No. 11 Bloomfield on Tuesday, March 6, it was another blowout win for the locals.
The third-rated Falcons did have to shake a little up and down play over the first half of action but in the end, St. Paul Catholic rolled out an 82-50 victory over the Warhawks from the Maltby Street Gymnasium in Bristol.
It was the Falcons’ 24th win of the campaign (24-2), the most victories for the squad since the 2009-10 season – the last time the program won the state championship.
Against Bloomfield, the Falcons’ 82 points were a season-high and a big boost from their usual offensive output.
In fact, over the first three games of tournament play, the Falcons averaged 75 points-a-game, which was way above the norm for the squad.
Against the Warhawks, the Falcons’ Jade Udoh pumped in a game-high 29 points to go along with another monster effort.
It was another double-double by the junior standout as she added 13 rebounds to augment her scoring.
Udoh dished out six assists along the way as well.
Janessa Gonzalez drained a couple three-pointers on her way to 25 points and Morgan Kolb joined Udoh and Gonzales in double-figures with 13 points.
Olivia Heslin added six points; Kailyn Bielecki scored five; and Catherine Ciampi spun in four to lead the offensive attack.
And according to assistant coach Claire Consonni, Bielecki also played some stellar defense.
It was the first victory of the season for the Falcons over an opponent from the Central Connecticut Conference.
And the Naugatuck Valley League team has racked up 19 straight wins.
St. Paul Catholic’s last loss came at Fairfield Warde (60-53) back on Dec. 28 as the program has not tasted defeat in the calendar year of 2019.
The Warhawks used seven players in the showdown with Mikayla Hayes netting a team-high 24 points.
Amani Levitan added 14; Jayanna Whitt posted eight; and Sanaa Woodard scored six to help the Warhawks end the season at a very respectable 16-7.
The game was a track meet early, which led to a ton of turnovers by each side.
But Bloomfield got into early trouble and the team’s bigs had to retreat to the bench early and often.
And once players were disqualified, St. Paul Catholic was easily able to finish at the hoop.
Quickly, the Falcons were able to put the contest out of reach.
Bloomfield proved pesky thanks to early turnovers and gaffes by the Falcons, but the home team still outscored the Warhawks over all four quarters of play.
St. Paul Catholic came out on top after the first tilt of play by four, 18-14, and then notched 16 second quarter points to capture a 34-27 halftime edge.
Foul trouble plagued the Warhawks into the third period and that’s when the Falcons salted the thing away.
St. Paul Catholic went for 24 points in the third frame and with eight minutes to go, the home team was in command at 58-40.
And after another 24-point barrage to end the game, the effort propelled the Falcons to a 32-point win and a date in the semifinal round – one win shy of a trip to Uncasville the following weekend.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Michael Letendre, email him at MLetendre@BristolObserver.com.