NEW BRITAIN -- Notre Dame-Fairfield encountered a 12-day layoff between the end of the regular season and Tuesday night's first-round game in the CIAC Class S girls basketball tournament at Goodwin Tech. Lancers coach Eric DeMarco had some concerns over the long disruption from game routines and the absence of game intensity that could not be replicated.
Would Notre Dame, which ended its SWC schedule with three losses in its last four games back on Feb. 19, be too sluggish when it faced the No. 13-seeded Gladiators in the state playoffs?
The malaise that unfolded at the game's start was not overwhelming in the least.
The Lancers needed nearly six minutes before making their move to get past Goodwin Tech, a Constitution State Conference team, as they advanced to Friday's second round with a 56-32 victory. Notre Dame (10-11) will meet No. 4 Bolton (16-4), of the North Central Connecticut Conference, which had received a bye, at 7 p.m. Bolton had played in Notre Dame's Christmas tournament in 2012.
Notre Dame led 12-9 before finishing up the first quarter Tuesday on a 6-1 run for an 18-10 lead heading into the second quarter. By halftime, the 20th-seeded Lancers were ahead by 31-17. Their reserves had enjoyed a chance to get back into the swing of game action.
"It was good to just get back on the floor and play; it was good to get one under our belts," DeMarco said.
The Lancers, who were Class M runners-up to Cromwell in 2013, practiced with Staples and Darien and scrimmaged in a four-way round robin at Watertown last weekend.
"It's just not the same," DeMarco said of Notre Dame's basketball activities since Feb. 19.
Three Lancers reached double figures, including reserve Precious Montgomery, who did her damage mostly in the second half. She scored 10 points, as did Raina Ceryak. Briana Mann led Notre Dame with 12 points. Gladiators' point guard Cheyenne Ravenell scored 11 points and Nashaley Vierra added 10.
Goodwin Tech made a run late in the third quarter to cut its deficit to 11 points at 33-22, but the Lancers closed out the quarter on a 5-0 run for a 38-22 cushion at the start of the fourth quarter. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Lancers led by 22 with mostly backups on the court.
"I thought we played pretty good defense and shot the ball pretty good, too," DeMarco said.
Goodwin Tech coach Jeff Bemis said his team had problems defending Notre Dame's post players Mann and Nakia Mabin (five points). Goodwin Tech collapsed on them down low, then found it difficult to attack the ball up top when it was swung back out if Mann and Mabin did not go to the rim.
The quickness of point guard Kayla Croswell (eight points) caused trouble for the Gladiators as well, Bemis said. "She's the quickest guard we've seen this year," he said.
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Class S first round
Notre Dame 56, Goodwin Tech 32
NOTRE DAME (10-11)
Kayla Croswell 4 0-0 8 Alexandra Danas 1 0-0 3 Kim Rodriguez 1 0-0 2 Whitney Fulton 0 0-1 0 Precious Montgomery 3 4-5 10 Dayniera Artis 0 1-2 1 Yasmine Walker 2 0-0 5 Briana Mann 5 2-2 12 Raina Ceryak 5 0-0 10 Nakia Mabin 2 1-6 5. Totals: 23 8-16 56.
GOODWIN TECH (13-9)
Mileyka Carpena 0 0-0 0 Nashaley Vierra 3 3-4 10 Cheyenne Ravenell 2 6-8 11 Reina Coons 3 1-2 7 Idalis Lozada 1 0-2 2 Keonna Yearwood 1 0-0 2 Natalia Dudzinski 0 0-0 0. Totals: 10 10-15 32.
NOTRE DAME 18 13 7 18--56
GOODWIN TECH 10 7 5 10--32
3-pointers: ND--Danas, Walker. GT--Vierra, Ravenell. Highlights: ND--Ceryak had nine rebounds, Croswell had eight steals.