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Margot Calmar shoots against Fitch earlier this season. The junior established a single-season rebound record in Monday's Class M state tournament win. | Christine Corrigan/The Westerly Sun

Stonington basketball: Bears win M opener; Calmar breaks record

PLAINVILLE — Stonington High used a patient offense in the second half, clutch free throw shooting and a record-setting rebound performance to beat Plainville 54-48 in the opening round of the Class M girls’ basketball tournament Monday night.

“We got off to a slow start, but in the second half we were running our offense like we do in practice. We were being more patient,” Stonington coach Paulla Solar said.

The patience resulted inbetter shots for the Bears and more trips to the free throw line. Stonington made 15 of 22 (68.1 percent) from the line.

Taty LaFrance Boyce was 8 of 10 from the line and Margot Calmar went 9 for 16.

“Taty had some big free throws down the stretch,” Solar said. “We just tried to keep the ball in her hands. Free throw shooting was a crucial part of why we won the game. It was a very good win, very exciting.”

LaFrance Boyce led the Bears with 25 points. She also contributed three assists and three steals.

Calmar finished with 22 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. Her rebounding performance pushed her season total to a school record 414. Heather Buck established the previous mark at 399 during the 2007-08 season.

Calmar, a junior, is averaging 19.7 rebounds per game.

“I think it’s her timing,” Solar said. “She just has a knack for rebounding without going over someone’s back. She’s persistent. She doesn’t take any time off from rebounding. She is consistently going after the ball. It’s wonderful.”

Stonington (14-7) trailed 11-7 after the first quarter, but came back to take a 24-23 lead at the half.

The Bears had a 10-point lead (33-23) at one point in the third quarter, but Plainville only trailed by three, 35-32, at the end of the period.

Stonington, the No. 18 seed, never trailed in the fourth quarter.

Kelsey Clemens led Plainville, the No. 15 seed, with 25 points. Plainville dropped to 13-8.

Stonington will travel to No. 3 Cromwell on Thursday for a 7 p.m. contest.

Cromwell, the No. 3 seed, downed Enfield 62-29 on Monday. The Panthers are the defending Class M state champions. They won the Shoreline Conference tournament this season and own a 23-1 record. Their only loss was to the Morgan School in December.

Cromwell has won 51 of its last 52 games over the last two seasons after going 28-0 last season.

The Panthers feature Janelle Harrison, who has signed with the University of Hartford.

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