Morgan Girls’ Hoops Gaining Steam at Midway Point
Junior captain point guard Catie Donadio and the Morgan girls’ basketball team picked up a 47-29 win over Old Saybrook on Jan. 14. Donadio had a big night by posting 14 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, eight steals, and a block in the victory. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
Freshman guard Caeley Ayer has been a pleasant surprise for the Huskies this season. Ayer scored a team-high 15 points in Morgan’s win versus Old Saybrook on Jan. 14. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
Senior Rachel Lehn and the Huskies dropped a 42-39 road contest against a talented Amistad squad on Jan. 16. Lehn scored eight points in the loss. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
The Morgan girls’ basketball squad is vying to become one of the best teams in the Shoreline Conference in a season where the Huskies are doing a bit of retooling.
Morgan graduated three starters from last year’s year club, but still has plenty of firepower to make waves against their conference opponents. As Head Coach Caitlin Woods integrates some new players into the rotation, the Huskies are sporting a winning record and will look to perform at their peak come playoff time.
Last week, the Huskies played a pair of games and split the set to move their record to 6-4 on the season. Morgan was pitted against Old Saybrook and Amistad in last week’s matchups. The Huskies picked up a 47-29 home win over the Rams and dropped a 42-39 road contest against the Wolves.
Overall this season, Coach Woods has been pleased with her team’s progress. Woods knew that there would be a few bumps along the way with the turnover of players, and she feels that the Huskies are still in a good spot midway through the campaign.
“We’ve had some growing pains this year. We’ve graduated three starters, and two of them started for three years,” said Coach Woods. “Recently, we’ve made some changes in the starting line up pulling in freshman Katie Martin and junior Alex Kelly. Alex got injured and had to sit out, but she’ll be back either this week or next week. So, we’re still trying to figure things out.”
The Huskies had things figured out against Old Saybrook at home on Jan. 14. There is always a little bit more riding on games between Morgan and Old Saybrook as Coach Caitlin Woods is pitted against her father, Old Saybrook Head Coach Steve Woods. When the two squads met up, Coach Caitlin Woods was pleased for her team to grab the victory, especially since Old Saybrook seems to be an upward-trending squad.
“I’m very impressed with Old Saybrook now. They have improved tremendously,” said Coach Woods. “They are a team that can quietly sneak up on people. If not this season, definitely in the future.”
Morgan got out to a strong start against the Rams posting a 14-5 first quarter to stake an early nine-point advantage. Both squads played pretty evenly in the second quarter, but Morgan held a 10-point edge at half time that only grew in the second half en route to the 47-29 final score.
Freshman Caeley Ayer had a great game scoring a team-leading 15 points to go with five steals, four assists, two rebounds, and a block. Junior captain Catie Donadio added 14 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, eight steals, and a block. The guard duo has been potent for the Huskies so far this season.
“Caeley Ayer had an outstanding game for us against Old Saybrook. Catie and Caely are cousins and you can see how they work so well together on the floor. It’s impressive that Caely has been able to step in as a freshman and have the impact she’s had,” said Coach Woods. “Catie is our go to point guard, and she’s really our only point guard. Catie Donadio basically does everything for the team. Caely will probably answer that call for point guard at some point.”
Senior captain Leah McComiskey has also been a big part of Morgan’s success this season, and she had a solid game against the Rams, as well. McComiskey posted nine points, 10 boards, seven blocks, three steals, and two assists.
McComiskey and Donadio are Morgan’s two captains, and they are the catalysts for this teams’ success according to Coach Woods.
“I’ve had a lot of great captains and leaders, but I’ve got two pretty great kids right now. Catie leads by example, and she’s the heart and soul of our team. Everyone looks to her for everything,” Woods said. “Leah’s worked for four years, and she’s been at the helm for a while. I think kids look at her like the star that she has always been. Now, she’s trying to go out with a bang.”
Senior Alyse Olcott provided eight rebounds, four steals, two assists, and a block against Old Saybrook, while Katie Martin had six points, five steals, two blocks, and two assists. Senior Rachel Lehn notched a pair of points, two blocks, two rebounds, and a steal. Coach Woods believes that her squad has plenty of talent to go around, and when the pieces all fall into place, the Huskies are going to be a tough team to beat.
“Alyse Olcott is a fiery, hard worker, and Rachel Lehn is a great shooter. Katie Martin made her way into the starting line up, as well,” Coach Woods said. “We have a lot of great components, and hopefully, we put it together for tournament time.”
On Jan. 16, the Huskies hit the road to face Amistad and lost a narrow 42-39 contest. Amistad staked an early lead with an 11-3 first quarter, but Morgan came back with a 14-9 second quarter to keep the game close at the half. Amistad took a 20-17 edge into the third quarter and increased its lead by a point with an 11-10 frame. Even though the Huskies outscored the Wolves 12-11 in the fourth, it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit and they took a 42-39 defeat.
The game ended in a loss for Morgan, Coach Woods was proud of the way her team clawed its way back from an early deficit.
“Amistad was aggressive and tough, but we battled back. We just didn’t have it in the end to pull out the win. Overall, they outplayed us, but I was proud of the kids for fighting as hard as they could,” said Coach Woods. “Amistad has some serious talent. They were the deserving team that night. Credit to them. It just shows my kids that we’ve got to get better and work harder.”
Donadio had another great game scoring 19 points to go with seven boards, six steals, and four assists. Martin provided nine points, eight rebounds, four steals, and a block, while Lehn added eight points, three rebounds, two steals, and a block. McComiskey supplied seven rebounds and two assists, while Ayer added five assists and two steals.
Looking ahead, Coach Woods believes her team will be right there come tournament time.
“I’m very confident in my team. We have one of the best guards in the Shoreline, and she can carry the whole team on her back at times,” said Coach Woods. “As long as everyone plays hard, and we’re focused, we’re a very good team. We just have to find that jell.”
• The Morgan girls’ basketball team’s roster includes senior captain Leah McComiskey; seniors Rachel Lehn and Alyse Olcott; junior captain Catie Donadio; juniors Madeline Dunham and Alex Kelly; sophomores Kasandra Gutierrez, Sydney Scanlon, and Ava Zirlis; and freshmen Caeley Ayer, Bailey Brown, Iris Dunham, Kacey Edwards, Alyssa Maikowski, Katie Martin, Eva O’Sullivan, Maddie O’Sullivan, and Sophie Passante.
• Caitlin Woods is currently in her fourth season as head coach of the Huskies. Morgan’s assistant coach is Jessica Lynch.
• For the rest of the regular season, Morgan is playing home games against Westbrook, Haddam-Killingworth, Coginchaug, Old Lyme, North Branford, Guilford, and Valley Regional. The Huskies will also play road contests versus Hale-Ray, North Branford, and Cromwell.