UNCASVILLE -- For one quarter all was going well for the Notre Dame-Fairfield girls basketball team.
For one half, things were OK, too.
But in the second half, Janelle Harrison, Lindsay Langenauer and Cromwell would not be denied a state championship and perfect season.
The top-seeded Panthers held off the second-seeded Lancers 42-28 in the Class M state championship game Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena.
"That's been the goal," Cromwell coach Kelly Maher said of winning the title. "It's not always pretty, but they found a way, and I couldn't be prouder of a group of kids."
Harrison and Langenauer combined for 18 second-half points as the Panthers capped a 28-0 season. Harrison also grabbed 16 boards, and Langenauer led all scorers with 18 while also grabbing 11 rebounds.
"Lindsay was spectacular," Maher said. "She wanted to win this more than anything. I think that showed with her energy and her play on the court. She got every rebound we needed."
Jovan Kingwood scored 14 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as ND finished its year 23-5. The Lancers fell to 0-5 all time in state championship games.
"There were really no excuses," ND coach Eric DeMarco said. "I don't think we gave it away as much as they took it."
The Lancers shot 35 percent in the first half, taking a 23-19 advantage into halftime.
Cromwell answered, outscoring ND 26-10 in the second half -- and 19-9 in the fourth quarter -- as ND shot just 11 percent in the final 16 minutes.
"We focus on defense every day," Maher said. "That's what won the game."
Still, Alexandra Danas' banked 3-pointer with 6:02 left kept the Lancers within a possession, 25-22.
But Kelly Flanigan's three-point play on Cromwell's subsequent possession ignited a 15-4 game-closing run. Harrison scored seven of those, and the Lancers missed 26 of 29 second-half field goals.
"The better team wore us down," DeMarco said. "Their post players did a great job inside, their guards played pretty well, and at the end of the game, in spite of our best effort, we couldn't get some shots to fall."
The Lancers, who practiced all week at Sacred Heart to prepare for the arena's depth perception, opened the game on fire, hitting six of 13 field goals and jumping out to a six-point first-quarter lead.
"They made a couple shots more than we did in the beginning," Maher said. "I thought they were outworking us more."
Kingwood scored nine, and Amber James scored the other five, guiding ND to a 14-10 lead through one.
"Jovan and Amber have played off of each other very well," DeMarco said. "It's no secret that they drove us."
But Langenauer, playing in her final high school game, kept Cromwell in the game. The senior forward scored nine, helping the Panthers stay within 18-16 at halftime.
"It hit me that this was my last game ever," Langenauer said. "I really didn't want to leave that court, win or lose, regretting anything."
"She did a great job," DeMarco said of Langenauer. "She was shooting the ball really well early."
Cromwell ramped up the defense in the second half and, keyed by Harrison's enhanced-offensive game, the Panthers outscored ND 7-1 in the third quarter.
"We just couldn't get a shot to fall," DeMarco said. "A lot of that was due to Cromwell's defense."
Class M final at Mohegan Sun Arena
Alexa Riley 0 2-4 2 Emily Appleby 0 0-0 0 Janelle Harrison 4 5-9 13 Kelly Flanigan 2 4-5 9 Lindsay Langenauer 6 6-10 18 Emma Belcourt 0 0-0 0 Mya Villard 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 17-28 42.
Amber James 4 0-0 9 Jovan Kingwood 5 4-5 14 Aly Furgiuele 0 0-0 0 Briana Mann 1 0-0 2 Katie Edwards 0 0-0 0 Alexandra Danas 1 0-0 3 Jerlisa Thomas 0 0-0 0 Tyanna Palmer 0 0-0 0 Jasmine Fuller 0 0-0 0 Eliana Otero 0 0-0 0 Tekarah Coward 0 0-0 0 Nakia Mabin 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 4-5 28.
ND-FAIRFIELD 14 4 1 9--28
CROMWELL 10 6 7 19--42
3-pointers: C--Flanigan; NDF--James, Danas.
Fouled out: NDF--Furgiuele, Mann.