Print this story

This Week in LCS History. 2/16/2013. Thomaston outlasts Nonnewaug to capture Berkshire League crown.

POSTED February 15, 2014
BY John Nestor
Twitter: @nestorjdn

Abby Hurlburt of Thomaston gets ahead of the pack on a fast break during first half action in Thomaston. The Golden Bears won the Berkshire League regular season title with a 55-48 win over Nonnewaug.

THOMASTON - The top two teams in the Berkshire League met with the championship on the line Friday night and Thomaston and Nonnewaug didn't disappoint.

After foul trouble, a big lead and a big comeback, the game came down to the final five minutes and Maggie Eberhardt and the Bears had one final push in them as they battled to a 55-48 victory over the Chiefs in front of a packed house at Thomaston High School.

With the win the Bears (18-2) finish a game ahead of the Chiefs in the BL for their third league title in four years. Eberhardt finished with 24 points, including Thomaston's final nine points which came in the last two minutes of the game.

"It was incredible," Eberhardt said. "To win the BL title three out of four years, is awesome. I couldn't ask for anything more."

Nonnewaug was down as many as 16 in the first half as Chief's star Katie Burke was saddled with three fouls and spent all but four minutes of the first half on the bench cheering on her teammates. Burke finished with 20, including 15 in the third quarter as she carried the Chiefs all the way back and into the lead.

Burke was unable to put the Chiefs on her back in the fourth quarter and Thomaston kept finding a way. Senior Sydney Keith made a number of big plays in the fourth and Eberhardt shook off a cold stretch to help the Bears put the game away.

Keith scored on a drive with 4:16 to go to give the Bears the lead for good, 43-42 with 4:16 to go. After a Nonnewaug miss, Eberhardt came off a screen and knocked down a mid-range jumper for a 45-42 lead with 3:40 to go. The Chiefs didn't quit, but they just stopped scoring at the worst time while Eberhardt brought the Bears home. She sandwiched a jumper in the lane and two free throws around a Burke drive to give Thomaston a 51-46 lead with 55 seconds left.

"Maggie has scored so many big baskets in four years here," Thomaston coach Robert McMahon said. "It's no secret she's a special player."

Eberhardt then made two free throws and got loose for a layup, fittingly scoring Thomaston's final points of the night before a last second hoop by Nonnewaug came just before the horn and just before the Thomaston student section stormed the court to celebrate another BL title.

"This is the best senior night anyone could ask for," Keith said. "We kept pushing the whole game. Our team works well with each other and no one ever gives up. We can depend on each other."

Things went well for the Bears early on as Eberhardt got going early and Burke picked up two fouls in the first 2:13 of the game. The teams were feeling each other out and it was just 3-3 when Burke went to the bench but Eberhardt scored six points and Abby Hurlbert added four in a 10-2 run that gave the Bears a 13-5 edge.

It was 17-9 Thomaston after one and Burke picked up her third on an over the back call just under two minutes into the second quarter. Nonnewaug coach Adam Brutting had no choice but to take Burke out and Thomaston went right to work. A bucket by Hurlbert and a nice back door cut and layup by Keith gave Thomaston its biggest lead of the night, 27-11.

The Chiefs battled to within 27-16 at the half as the Bears missed an opportunity to deliver a knockout punch with Burke a spectator. The missed opportunity almost came back to haunt Thomaston as Burke and the Chiefs came out for the third quarter determined to go down swinging.

"I knew that I was going to have to make it my half, our half," Burke said. "Thomaston played their hearts out and are by far the most impressive team in the Berkshire League besides us. But if I played in the first half I think it would have been a different game and I think they know that."

But Burke would have been out there without a couple silly fouls. Her first was a cheap reach in and third was an over the back when she got caught chasing after a steal and then was late back to her man under the boards. She picked up her fourth 13 seconds into the fourth quarter and fouled out with 38 seconds left.

The Chiefs did well to keep it close when Burke was a cheerleader rather than their leading scorer, but it eventually caught up to them.

"I think when you get down, you work so hard to get back and we were a little bit gassed," Brutting said.

And while Nonnewaug ran out of gas at the end, Eberhardt and the Bears found a little reserve in the tank and it was enough to win another BL title.

Nonnewaug  9​-7-​21-​11 - ​48

Thomaston 17-​10-​11-​17 - ​55

Nonnewaug (48) - Allison Rescsanski ​0 0 0; Megan Mitchell ​2 0 5; Katie Burke ​7 6 20; Courtney Carlson 1 5 7; Erin South ​0 0 0; Allyson Charette​ 1 0 2; Jessica Fengler ​4 4 12; Deanna Maurice​ 1 0 2. Totals ​16 15 48

3 Pointers-  Mitchell

Thomaston (55) - Maggie Eberhardt​ 9 5 24; Sydney Keith ​3 0 7; Abby Hurlbert ​5 4 14; Bryttnie Thomas ​0 1 1; Sarah Guay ​0 0 0; Charlie Eberhardt​ 1 0 2; Gabby Hurlbert ​0 0 0; Morgan Sanson ​3 1 7. Totals: ​21 11 55.

3 Pointers- M. Eberhardt, Keith

For more from John Nestor click here