T-Birds Give Valley First Defeat; Boys’ Hoops Takes a Few Losses

T-Birds Give Valley First Defeat; Boys’ Hoops Takes a Few Losses

Chris Piccirillo/Zip06.com

02/06/2022 10:16 p.m. EST

Girls’ Basketball

The North Branford girls’ basketball team handed Valley Regional its first loss of the season and then defeated Haddam-Killingworth in last week’s action. Thunderbirds improved their overall record to 12-5 on the year with these victories.

On Jan. 31, North Branford hosted an undefeated Valley Regional team and posted a 67-56 win over the Warriors, who came into the game with a record of 11-0. North Branford and Valley were tied 13-13 entering the second quarter, where the T-Birds outscored the Warriors by a 15-5 margin to take a 28-18 lead into halftime. North Branford held off Valley’s comeback effort in the second half and walked off the floor with a 67-56 victory. With the win, the T-Birds not only dealt Valley its first loss on the year, they also avenged a 67-29 defeat against Valley from earlier in the season.

Sophomore Callie Holzer turned in a big-time performance by scoring 30 points, including six 3-pointers, for the Thunderbirds versus Valley. Senior captain Braeden LeBeau also had a great game by scoring 21 points to go with 15 rebounds and two blocks. Sophomore Keana Criscuolo scored 12 points and grabbed 9 steals to help Head Coach Sabrina LeMere’s team prevail.

Four days later, North Branford hosted Haddam-Killingworth and notched a 58-35 victory on Senior Night. Criscuolo had 26 points with 3 blocks and 3 steals in the victory. LeBeau scored 14 points, grabbed 17 rebounds, and also had 8 blocks with 5 steals. Senior Delaney Norman added 8 points for North Branford.

Boys’ Basketball

The North Branford boys’ basketball team lost three games last week and is now 2-13 on the year.

North Branford took a 41-32 defeat against Valley Regional in a road game on Jan. 31. Senior captain Blake Pearson scored 11 points for the T-Birds in the contest. Junior John Onofrio had 7 points, and senior captain Jake Saldutti added 6 points for North Branford.

On Feb. 2, North Branford hosted Haddam-Killingworth and lost the contest by a 41-33 score. Three days later, the T-Birds faced H-K on the road and took a 39-34 defeat to the Cougars.

Boys’ Swimming and Diving

The GNH Warriors boys’ swimming and diving team hosted Cheshire for a meet at Walter Gawrych Community Pool on Feb. 5. The Warriors claimed a 101-76 victory against the Rams to move to improve to 6-1 for the 2022 season.

East Haven senior Hethon Foster took first place in the 50 freestyle (22.97) and the 100 freestyle (49.83) for the Warriors. East Haven junior Brendan Conners finished first in the 200 freestyle (1:51.81) and the 100 breaststroke (1:02.54).

Guilford senior Finn Henry claimed first place in the 200 individual medley (2:01.00) and the 500 freestyle (5:06.48). North Haven junior Christian Butler earned top honors in the 1-meter diving (228.55). GNH’s 200 medley relay of Henry, Conners, Foster, and Guilford junior Lucas Espinosa also took first place (1:42.90).

Boys’ Ice Hockey

The North Branford boys’ ice hockey took three defeats last week and now has a record of 5-9 this year.

North Branford took a 3-2 home loss against East Catholic on Jan. 31. With the T-Birds trailing 1-0 in the second period, senior captain Dakota Cooper tied the game by scoring on a feed from fellow senior captain Joey Marra. East Catholic scored a goal to take a 2-1 lead, but North Branford tied the game against when senior captain Ryan Michonski scored from Cooper and sophomore CJ Sherwood with 39 seconds left in regulation.

For the third game in a row, the T-Birds went to overtime, where East Catholic netted the game-winning goal to get the 3-2 victory. Junior goalie Aidan Geist played a great game by making 33 saves in net for North Branford.

Then on Feb. 2, the T-Birds faced Cheshire on the road and dropped a 3-1 decision at Lou Astorino Ice Arena. North Branford was down 1-0 in the first period, but sophomore Mike Matteo scored a slapshot goal on an assist from fellow sophomore Brady Martinik to knot the game at 1.

Following a scoreless second period, North Branford appeared to take the lead on a goal by Michonski with seven minutes remaining in the third. However, the goal was disallowed due to an interference call on the T-Birds, keeping the game tied. Cheshire went on to score to go-ahead goal with 3:20 left in the game, after which the Rams added an empty-netter in the final seconds to come away with the 3-1 win. Once again, Geist made 33 saves in net for the Thunderbirds, who took 40 shots on goal.

Three days later, North Branford dropped a 5-3 decision to Watertown-Pomperaug in a road game at the Taft School.

Girls’ Ice Hockey

The Hamden-East Haven-North Branford (H-EH-NB) girls’ ice hockey team won one of its three games last week to move to 5-11 this season.

On Feb. 2, H-EH-NB took a 3-0 home loss against the Suffield co-op at Lou Astorino Ice Arena. The following day, the Green Dragons took a 7-1 loss to Guilford in a road game at Milford Ice Pavilion. Then on Feb. 5, H-EH-NB hosted West Haven-SHA and notched a 3-1 victory in the contest.