By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – Every good hoops team is going to drop a game or two along a successful campaign.
Every squad seems to do it and expecting to sail through a scholastic campaign undefeated is sometimes unrealistic.
And in the grand schemes of things, a loss is a good learning tool in the end.
In the case of the team from St. Paul, it took one heck of an individual effort to finally topple the Falcons on Monday night, Dec. 22.
Watertown’s Abby Collier notched over half of her squad’s final point total to help defeat St. Paul as her game high 29 points led the Indians to an impressive 49-45 win from the Maltby Street Gymnasium in Bristol.
It was the first loss of the season for the Falcons (3-1) while Watertown moved over .500 in the victorious effort (3-2).
In the Naugatuck Valley League tilt, Watertown won the first three quarters – by just a total of four points – and played St. Paul even over the final eight minutes to put up a huge win on the road.
Collier’s effort was impressive as she hit only six field goals but from the free throw stripe, she canned 15 charity shots to stave off the Falcons.
And the Indians had to throw the kitchen sink at St. Paul to eke out the victory.
Rebecca Lopes added eight points while Jules Rinaldi notched seven for the victors.
For St. Paul, the Lizzies on the squad – Ferraro and Cretella – each scored 13 points while the crafty Kelly McMahon threw in three three-pointers and pitched in 10 total points.
Mekaela Giantonio tallied five points and Maddie Sturm flipped in four for the Falcons.
It was a nip-and-tuck battle throughout and even as badly as Watertown wanted to, the Indians could never truly shake the home squad.
And in the final period of play, Collier hit some critical free throws to ice the game and stave off the Falcons.
St. Paul trailed 10-9 after just one stanza of play while eight minutes later, Watertown still led but at intermission, the edge was just a 21-19 tilt – a one possession game with both teams still in the fray.
The Indians outscored the Falcons 13-11 over the third period and with one quarter left, Watertown’s edge was pushed to 34-30.
With the exploits of Collier coming to the forefront, the Indians were able to hold and defeat St. Paul by a 49-45 final.
PHOTOS by TAMMI NAUDUS