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Bacon girls sneak past Fitch 43-40 for their sixth straight victory

Feb. 1—COLCHESTER — The game was tied, dramatically, a few seconds earlier and Bacon Academy's Elizabeth Glover, without hesitation, drove down the lane, drawing a foul. She made one of two free throws with 13.8 seconds remaining to tip the game in the Bobcats' favor for good.

"When I drove, I didn't know it was tied," Glover said. "I was thinking we should probably score at this point in the game — if we have a lead, just make it bigger. So I drove and when I saw it was tied, I was like, 'Oh, boy, now I've got to make these.'"

Bacon won its sixth straight game, getting 15 tough rebounds from Glover, the soccer goalie, and 14 points, 4 rebounds and 4 steals from Katelyn Novak in a 43-40 victory over Fitch that hung in the balance until the final seconds.

Fitch went to the foul line with 7.0 seconds to play but missed, then had to foul Bacon four times to send the Bobcats to the free throw line in an attempt to get the ball back.

Bacon's Cara Shea iced the game with a pair of free throws with 1.8 seconds remaining. The Bobcats (12-5) have now put together consecutive wins over East Lyme, Killingly, Woodstock Academy, Windham, North Branford and Fitch.

Novak had a career-high 25 points in Monday's 69-57 victory over North Branford.

Synaa Waters and Meleeya Robbins each had 14 points for Fitch (10-8).

"It was great to have all of them contribute with the things that they do in the game," Bacon coach Kevin Fennell said of the win. "Cara Shea making free throws late, Liz securing rebounds, Katelyn making decisions with the ball and other players out there defensively being in the right spots and understanding who the biggest threat is on the other team to score."

The score was tied 15-15 at halftime in a game without much rhythm from either team and with a number of turnovers on both sides. Waters had 10 points for Fitch at the half, eight in the second quarter.

Bacon started out the second half with its press, which the Bobcats refer to as "fire." That prompted a 10-0 Bacon run, starting with a three-point play from Skyelyn Schoen-Rene and including four points from Emily Ferrigno and two free throws from Glover.

That made it 25-15 before a 3-pointer from Fitch's Gabby Dimock snapped the Falcons' scoreless streak. Following a Bacon basket by Novak, Fitch then went on 7-0 run of its own, capped by a three-point play from Robbins that pulled the Falcons back within 27-25.

Two free throws by Shea gave Bacon a 33-30 lead after three quarters.

"That was an exciting end," Fennell said. "The entire game was exciting. You get the enthusiasm in the game and the runs, it's a lot of fun."

Fennell said that the term "fire" came from legendary Bacon girls' coach Dave Shea, for whom the gymnasium at the school is named.

"Dave Shea would trap in the corners out of his 2-3 zone and he would scream, 'fire,'" Fennell said. "It's not the same but it's still a tribute to him. ... They love running that press. We certainly view when we use it as strategic. The kids really enjoy the tempo of it."

Bacon bumped its lead up to 38-30 on a 3 by Shea and a fast break layup by Novak off a steal from Shea to start the fourth quarter. But Fitch reeled off another seven straight points, including a 3 by Robbins, to pull within 38-37.

Novak's layup with 55 seconds left made it 40-37 but Dimock's 3 from the right-hand corner with 27 seconds left tied things at 40 and created a breathless finish.

Shea finished with 11 points for Bacon and Ferrigno had eight points, five steals and three assists.

"At halftime it helps that we can discuss what's happening. We're a very close team so we can talk things out," Glover said of the more poised second half from the Bobcats.

"'Fire' really helped," Novak said. "Our press really helped and pulling it back on offense and running our plays. Like, moving around and not crowding the ball really helped our team score, come together and score some points. ... This was crazy. So happy we won this game."

v.fulkerson@theday.com