During a game marked by a fast-paced second half, the Berlin Redcoats defeated the Portland Highlanders in the championship game of the Erica Garrett Memorial Holiday Tournament Thursday night.
The tournament is held in honor of Erica Garrett, a 1995 Rocky Hill High School graduate and basketball standout who died of cancer in 2000. Proceeds from the game will go to a memorial scholarship in her honor.
Berlin led 15-8 by the end of the first quarter. During the second quarter, the Redcoats added four more points to their margin.
Although the Highlanders picked up the pace in the third quarter, Berlin continued to dominate. The quarter ended with Berlin leading 40-19.
Both teams played quickly in the fourth quarter, with Portland focusing less on turnovers and more on shooting. The Highlanders had to change their preferred game plan early when Berlin jumped out to a 10-point lead.
Portland coach Nick Chaconis praised seniors Sarah Bierly, Meaghan Rodgers and Alyssa Unikewicz as vital to his team.
“We could not get into an offensive flow,” he said. “It’s a credit to their defense.”
Unikewicz scored nine points, while Bierly and Rogers scored eight. Senior Chelsey Vujs scored 18 points for Berlin while juniors Ashley Malloy added 16 and Courtney Trzasko 11.
Berlin coach Sheila King called the tournament victory a boost to her team’s morale, citing the stamina of her players and the quality of their defense as important to the win.
Unikewicz and Rogers were selected afterward as all-tournament players for the event, along with junior Emily Anderson of Rocky Hill and senior Ugne Vaiciulyte of Farmington. Trzasko was selected as the tournament's Most Valuable Player.
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