Girls Basketball Foran cruises past Branford
MILFORD — Foran girls basketball coach Bob Asmussen and his squad were confident in the formula needed to defeat Branford Thursday afternoon. That formula consisted of stopping Sophia Araneo and Karly King.
The Lions executed the plan to perfection. Limiting the pair to a total of 22 points, Foran cruised to a 63-41 Southern Connecticut Conference interdivision victory at Foran High.
“The girls played tremendously today,” Asmussen said. “They executed the game plan, especially on defense. We know how good Sophia (Araneo) and Karly (King) are. We know how tough they are to defend. The girls did a good job limiting them.”
While the defense of the Lions played to perfection, the offense was just as solid, hitting from all areas of the floor. Mia Tunucci led the way with 23 points and Samantha Inthapanhya popped in 15 more as the Lions pulled away early.
Foran (4-0) hit 15 field goals in the game, added seven more 3-pointers and came up with more than a handful of baskets due to pure hustle.
“This is big for us,” Tunucci said. “We knew they were going to come out strong. They are a strong team. We wanted to get the rebounds and set the tone early.”
Foran was able to set the tone of the contest, ending the opening quarter on a 9-2 run. Baskets by Emma Lucas and Tunucci, along with a 3-pointer by Inthapanhya gave Foran a 15-7 lead after one quarter.
The Lions increased the margin with another run, this one of the 10-3 variety for a 25-10 advantage. Branford, which dropped to 2-2 after its second straight loss, managed just a 3-pointer by Gabriella Lucertini in the stretch and never recovered from the 15-point deficit set up by a pair of 3-pointers by Foran’s Lauren Heenan.
“We did not shoot the ball well,” Branford coach Robert Manghnani said. “We shot 20 percent. When you look at our shooting percentage, their defense, and the way they shot the ball lights out, that shows why.”
The Hornets got as close as 27-17 on a 3-pointer by King, but Heenan answered with a 3-pointer for the Lions, sending Foran to the half with a 32-20 advantage.
Foran again went on a run to open the third quarter, using nine straight points to take a 41-20 lead after a 3-pointer by Inthapanhya. After a 3-pointer by Branford’s Nicole Pagliaro, Foran scored the next eight points with four points coming from Tunucci, for a 49-23 advantage.
“I am blessed this year to have a bunch of girls who are completely multi-dimensional,” Asmussen said. “The girls are interchangeable. The team can shoot and they are so unselfish.”
Tunucci also finished with 14 rebounds and six blocked shots, while Jasmine Lord added nine points in the win.
“We have made a commitment to playing defense this year,” Asmussen said. “That has been the difference.”
Araneo finished with 17 points and Pagliaro added six in the loss for Branford.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Mia Tunucci — Foran junior finished with 23 points, 14 rebounds, and six blocks in a dominant performance by the Lions.
“The girls have been the building blocks of the program and they are now being rewarded with the success. Things are falling in place for them. They have been in some battles the last couple of years. This is the same group of girls.”
— Foran coach Bob Asmussen