Hawks capture first CCC title

Championship Saturday made another appearance in Bristol over the weekend as the women’s basketball team squared off against Endicott College for the right to be crowned Commonwealth Coast Conference champions.

In front of a raucous crowd, the Hawks capped off their dominant tournament run with a performance that left few skeptics that they were the superior team of the CCC.

In the three games required to punch their automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, the Hawks stifled their opponents, winning their contests by a combined average of 32 points.

Their largest victory came in the Quarterfinals of the CCC Tournament when they beat Gordon College by 52 points.

At first glance, things looked like they would be trending in a different direction for the Hawks in the championship game, as the Gulls jumped out to a hot start and built a 10-2 lead within the opening minutes of the game.

The game would remain a back and forth battle for the rest of the first quarter and into the second half as the Hawks entered halftime with a seven-point advantage.

Coming out of the locker room, the Hawks swooped in on their prey, starting off the half with an 8-0 scoring run to push the lead to 15. From there, the Hawks did not look back as they imposed their will on their opponents offensively, picking apart man and zone defense for layups and points from the foul line.

The other end of the court was no different, as the Hawks defended the paint, corralled rebounds and forced their opponents into contested mid-range jump shots.

Sophomore Caroline Elie led the charge with a game-high 20 points — eight of those coming from the charity stripe.

“Caroline is a competitor to the bone. She plays as hard every day regardless of how big the stage is,” said Head Coach Kelly Thompson. “She’s an elite-level defender and I’m so happy she had a great performance on both ends in the championship.”

Thompson, who has roamed the sideline for the Hawks for 12 seasons, is no stranger to the CCC Championship game. She has reached the big game twice during her tenure in Bristol, only to come up short both times making the result that much sweeter.

“It was absolute elation. I was so happy for our current team and staff, but also for all our alumni who helped to build our program,” she said.

Among those alumni is Bridget Quilty, a 2017 graduate who is an assistant on Thompson’s staff. She reached the conference championship game in her freshman season.
The Hawks will travel to New York for a matchup against Bates College on March 4. The Bobcats captured the automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament with an upset win over nationally-ranked Amherst College in the NESCAC Tournament championship game.

The winner of the game will face the winner of the New York University and Washington and Lee University matchup the following day.