Saturday, February 19, 2011

Winnacunnet Girls Beat Dover, Win 64th Straight Game

The Winnacunnet girls basketball dynasty continues. The Warriors just keep on winning basketball games. They've won 4 consecutive Class L titles going into the year, and they are now 16-0 this season and have won 64 straight games. Winnacunnet has won every game this year by at least 9 points, and they have won 11 games by 20 points or more.

The latest victory came Friday night against Dover. The Green Wave were 12-3 going in. But they really struggled in this game offensive, especially in the 1st half when they scored just 12 points. They even went 5 straight minutes without scoring a point. And behind 18 points from junior guard Anna Sullivan and 16 points from senior forward Samantha Corcoran, Winnacunnet defeated Dover 62-38 in Division I girls basketball in Dover.

Impressive Defensive Effort for Winnacunnet
It wasn't there best game offensively, although the Warriors were very disciplined, worked for good shots and had very few turnovers. But their defense in this game was as good as I've seen all year for any girls basketball game.

They ran their customary full court press to 2-3 half court zone, and both were extremely effective. Dover kept trying to throw deep passes over the heads of the Winnacunnet players against the press to try and beat the press and possibly get a 2-on-1 break going off of it. And while this strategy worked a couple of times, it did lead to MANY Green Wave turnovers.

Dover is a good team, but they don't exactly have a high powered offense. They simply didn't have enough shooters or ball handlers to score enough points against the stingy defense of Winnacunnet. Sullivan led the way defensively with 5 steals, while Corcoran had 2 blocked shots. Sophomore forward Carly Gould also had a solid game for the warriors. She is 6'0" and can really jump. They have her guarding the inbound pass on the press, so it is very tough for the opposition to see over the top of Gould in order to see the floor and get the ball in. As a result Dover was called for multiple 5 second violations.

Dover Hung Tough for Most of the Way
Give Dover credit. Even though they struggled offensively quite a bit they played tough defense and refused to back down against the best girls team in the state. Halfway through the 1st quarter Dover only trailed 8-7. And although they trailed 20-8 late in the 1st half the Green Wave then went on a 7-1 run to make it a 21-15 Winnacunnet lead in the 3rd quarter after Dover guard Laura Hambrook drained a three-pointer from the right wing.

Dover was led by senior center Jamie Boyatsis (7 points, 9 rebounds) and junior point guard Allie Mahan (team-high 12 points and tough as nails defense all game). Both plays made a number of solid plays on both sides of the floor to help keep Dover in it for most of the way. Bridget Lynch and Emma Johnson also played well for the Green Wave.

Also helping Dover's cause was the fact that Winnacunnet junior guard Kirsten O'Neil had to sit for much of the game with foul trouble. O'Neil is an explosive player who dropped 29 points on Londonderry 3 weeks ago. But in this game she had just 2 points in the 1st half and 8 for the game.

Sullivan, Corcoran and Co. = 2nd Half Team
Every time Dover got close and threatened to make a game of it Winnacunnet responded with a run. When Dover cut the lead to 8-7 in the 1st quarter, Winnacunent went on a 10-0 run to make it 18-7. When the Green Wave cut the lead to 25-19, the Warriors promptly went on a 6-0 run and just like that the lead was 31-19.

Then junior guard Aviana Morrison hit a running three-pointer off the glass at the buzzer and Winnacunnet led 39-26 after 3 quarters. That shot gave the Warriors even more momentum heading into the final quarter.

'The Beattie Bunch' scored 23 points in the 4th quarter en route to the 62-38 win. They seem to always get better as the game goes on, and all 3 Winnacunnet games that I have seen this year they have had BIG 4th quarters every time. This is even more impressive because they only go with a 6 player rotation. They are well conditioned though, and are able to stay fresh for the end of the game.

Morrison had 11 points off the bench for the Warriors, who are the clear cut favorite to win a 5th consecutive state championship. Senior guard Kiel DiPetro also played well in a supporting role for Winnacunnet. Sullivan and Corcoran led the way on this night, though. Both players were excellent in all 4 quarters, and hit a number of free throws in the 4th quarter to add to the lead. If O'Neil wasn't in foul trouble they would have won by even more. Another impressive win for head coach Ed Beattie and his squad.

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