Week 4 girls basketball recap: Mercy splits with two of the state’s top teams; Conard is 5-1 after starting last season at 1-5

Mercy had to play two of the top girls’ basketball teams in the state last week and will face another this week.

Mercy (6-1) lost to Hand 53-50 on Wednesday and beat Sacred Heart 51-44 last Friday. This Friday, they will face unbeaten Hamden.

“We play Hand, Sacred Heart, Hamden twice each so that’s six games,” Mercy coach Tim Kohs said. “Plus the [SCC] tournament. You might be able to go 6-0 but that’s a really tall order. All the teams are good but they each present different problems.”

Ava Giansiracusa had 16 points and Sophie Hedge 11 in the Sacred Heart game, and Giansiricusa had 19 points against Hand, but Kohs wanted to talk about his team’s defense.

“I thought we played great defense both games,” he said. “I thought we gave up too many points against Hand but it was mostly because we put them at the foul line. We got outscored I think 20-2 at the foul line. The officiating was fine. They were more aggressive, they got to the rim. We got to the rim and tried to avoid contact instead of finishing. We did a better job of that against Sacred Heart.”

Players of the Week

Adela Cecunjanin, Cromwell: Cecunjanin had a double-double (13 rebounds, 11 points) and four blocks in a 38-29 victory over East Hampton Tuesday.

Callie Cosgrove, Conard: Cosgrove scored 21 points in a 51-32 victory over Northwest Catholic Tuesday.

Bela Cucuta, Newington: Cucuta had 21 points in a 42-36 win over East Hartford Friday and 16 points in a 58-31 win over E.O. Smith Wednesday.

Emma Diehl, Bolton: Diehl had a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds) and eight assists in a 44-26 win over Suffield Friday.

Megan Lukaszewski, Goodwin Tech: Lukaszewski had 12 rebounds, 11 points and six assists in a 32-24 win over Prince Tech Friday.

Leticia Pires, Westbrook: Pires had three double-doubles averaging 13.3 points, 11.3 8rebounds as well as 2 blocks and 2.3 steals in three victories for Westbrook last week.

Jaylice Rosario, Maloney: Rosario had 12 rebounds and seven points and five steals in a 38-30 win over Lewis Mills Tuesday.

Paige Raynor, E.O. Smith: Raynor scored 20 points in a 57-35 win over South Windsor Tuesday.

Audrey Tice, St. Paul: Tice had 24 points and six steals in a 55-53 overtime loss to Seymour Friday.

Tiara Tyson, Manchester: Tyson scored 43 points in a 66-53 victory over RHAM Tuesday.

Storylines of the Week

- Valley Regional handed Granby its first loss, 42-31 on Tuesday. Valley (4-2) was led by Lily Grow, who had 19 points.

- Windsor beat Enfield 54-43 Thursday after losing to Enfield by two points Dec. 29. The Warriors are 6-1 under new coach Brittany Huggins.

- East Hampton lost its first game 38-29 to Cromwell Tuesday. East Hampton coach Shaun Russell has been placed on leave, according to the superintendent, after video from a Dec. 20 game against Valley Regional appeared to show Russell shoving one of his players in an apparent effort to re-position her on the court. East Hampton is 7-1.

- Cromwell, under new coach Sal Morello, has regained its footing after losing to two of the top teams in the state, Hand and Pomperaug, in late December. Cromwell is 5-2 after wins over East Hampton and Haddam-Killingworth last week.

- After starting last season 1-5, Conard is 5-1 led by a trio of sophomore guards - Callie Cosgrove (22 ppg), Emily Knowles (16 ppg) and point guard Courtney McPhee (5 ppg, 5 rpg, 5 apg).

Games to Watch

Simsbury (6-1) at Windsor (6-1), Wednesday, 6:45 p.m.: Simsbury’s only loss came to Enfield Dec. 21; Windsor beat Enfield last week.

Hamden (7-0) vs. Mercy (6-1) at Xavier, Friday, 5:30 p.m.: Mercy tries to knock off unbeaten Hamden in a big SCC game.

Newington (6-2) vs. St. John Vianney (N.J.) (9-0) at Springfield College, Jan. 16, 9 a.m.: Newington will face one of the top teams in New Jersey at the Hoophall Classic on Martin Luther King Day.

Lori Riley can be reached at lriley@courant.com.