During the winter season of 2016, the T-Birds’ boys’ ice hockey team put together another thrilling playoff run that featured a conference championship. Elsewhere, North Branford girls’ basketball saw Sabrina LeMere break the program’s scoring record during Chris Webster’s last game as head coach.
Boys’ Ice Hockey
For the second consecutive season, the North Branford boys’ ice hockey team reached the championship game of Division II State Tournament, where the T-Birds took a 4-3 loss in overtime to Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe at Ingalls Rink in New Haven. Prior to playing in states, North Branford took home the SCC/SWC Division II Tournament championship with a 7-4 win over Cheshire.
John Lovelace stepped into the North Branford net and won 18 games while recording 420 saves and a 2.43 goals-against-average. North Branford’s offense was led by Adam Burkle, who had 55 points (22 goals, 33 assists); and Brian McKee, who finished with 50 points (37 goals, 13 assists) for North Branford, which ended the year with a 20-5-1 record.
The Thunderbirds played to an 11-12 overall mark in Chris Webster’s final year at the team’s head coach.
After putting together a 10-10 regular season, North Branford was eliminated in the opening round of the Shoreline Tournament. Then as the No. 27 seed in the State Tournament, the Thunderbirds defeated No. 6 Prince Tech 69-50 before losing to Notre Dame-Fairfield in the second round.
In the last game of her high school career, Sabrina LeMere recorded a career-high 32 points to surpass the previous school scoring record of 1,391, ultimately finishing her outstanding career with 1,398 points. For her coaching career, Webster finished with a total of 518 victories with the T-Birds.
North Branford’s finished the year at 6-14 this winter.
The highlight of the season for the T-Birds was their final stretch of games as they won three of four, including two in overtime, to close out the year. Brett Lequire was atop the state’s scoring list as he poured in 472 total points to close out the season with 24.8 per game.
Boys’ Indoor Track
North Branford displayed great effort in its meets with the team’s best performance coming at the Shoreline Championship, where the T-Birds placed seventh out of 13 teams.
Jason Alaska had the T-Birds’ best individual performance at Shorelines with a fourth-place finish in the 55-meter dash behind a time of 7.01 seconds.
Girls’ Indoor Track
The Thunderbirds performed well this winter and even set a school record.
At the Class S State Championship, the girls’ 4x200 relay team of Jenna Bryden, Grace Little, Erika Chironno, and Jess Zumbo finished with a time of 1:53.96 to break the mark of 1:54.2 that was set in 2013 by Emmy Dulak, Sara Olsen, Jordan Miket, and Zumbo. Deanna Sgambato’s leap of 7 feet in the pole vault at the Shoreline Conference Championship earned her a share of the North Branford school record, typing Colleen Kelleher and Alicia Abelson.
North Branford competed at the Class S State Championship and scored 76.8 points to finish in 15th place this year.