Saturday, March 1, 2014

Trinity Hangs On To Beat Dover in a Nail-Biter

By: Jeremy Leveille
The future is certainly bright for Trinity High girls basketball. They had 3 players score in double figures on Friday night - one was a sophomore and the other 2 were freshmen. The sophomore (Amanda Torres) led the team in scoring with 13, while one of the freshmen (Shannon Roberge) hit what would turn out to be the game-winning shot. They played 9 kids in this game, and 5 of them were sophomores and 2 of them were freshmen.

With their 51-49 win over Dover on Friday night the Pioneers finish the regular season at 11-7, which is their best record in years. Yes, the future is certainly bright for this team. The 5 sophomores are Torres (13 points), Ashley Hill, Elizabeth Graveline, Danielle Mackey and Kacie Coppinger, and the 2 freshmen are Roberge (11 points) and Eireann Kolden (11 points)

On Friday night they led Dover 28-17 at halftime. Dover chipped away at the lead in the 2nd half, and then junior guard Katie Boyatsis drilled a clutch 3-pointer from the left corner to tie it up 47-47 with with 2:58 left in regulation. With under 1:30 left to play it was still tied 47-47. Then Torres raced down the court with the ball for an explosive drive to the rim. She hit a runner inside, putting Trinity back on top 49-47 with 1:10 left.

Dover tries to answer back, as junior guard Abby Tilton (10 points) drives baseline, goes up for a shot and gets fouled. She goes to the line for 2 big free throw attempts, hits both and we're tied back up 49-49. Trinity tries to hold for one last shot. They get it under 10 seconds and call timeout. Out of the timeout Torres dishes the ball to Roberge who puts up a shot inside and it's good. The Pioneers re-take the lead 51-49 with just 3.8 seconds left.

Dover gets the ball back with one last chance. They call timeout but still have to go the length of the floor and try to score in just 3.8 seconds. illton gets the ball near half court and passes it ahead to senior forward Molly Wotton (game-high 17 points). Wotton is running down court towards the rim, and Tilton tries to hit her in stride with the pass. Wotton couldn't quite handle the pass though and it falls through her hands. Loose ball on the floor, and then the buzzer sounds. Trinity wins 51-49.

"We were actually trying to get the ball to Molly at half court" explained Dover High head coach Dan Casey. "But she had players draped around her. I thought the play worked out pretty well, she just lost the ball."

Trinity finishes the season 11-7 and will take on Manchester Memorial in the D-I prelims in the 8/9 match up. Meanwhile while Dover ends the regular season at 8-10, they'll be the #12 seed in the tourney and will play at #5 seed Salem in the first round.

Before going any further with this recap special mention needs to be made of the outstanding game that Wotton had. Wotton is a volleyball kid first and foremost. She is the NH Gatorade Player of the Year for volleyball, and will continue her volleyball career at the University of New Hampshire. While basketball isn't her first sport, Wotton really left it all out on the floor on Friday night in her last basketball home game for Dover. She not only had a game-high 17 points but she grabbed a whopping 22 rebounds. That's right folks, 22 rebounds. She is bigger than any player Trinity had out there, but it was still a very impressive performance.

It was senior night for Dover, as the Green Wave honored their 4 seniors - Wotton, Colleen Discoll, Savannah Weinstein and Brie O'Neil. Defense dominated early, as Wotton made a nice block on Trinity senior Lizzy Meehan. Hill made a nice drive and dish to Mackey for a layup, and then on the other end Dover broke the press for a 2-on-1 on the other end, with Weinstein making an and-1 finish. There was not much scoring early though, and with 3:10 left in the 1st quarter it was tied 2-2.

Roberge connected on a 3-pointer to put the Pioneers up 5-4, and later Boyatsis drove into the lane and hit a runner. It was 8-7 Dover after 1 quarter.

In the 2nd quarter Torres made a steal and took all the way in for a layup to put Trinity up 11-10. On the next trip down the floor Torres made a nice dish to Kolden for a layup and right after that Roberge hit an 18-footer. Torres then made a great hustle play by sprinting back on defense and knocking the ball out of Tilton's hands while she was going up for a fast break layup. Torres also knocked the ball off Tilton so it went out of bounds on her and Trinity got possession. Kolden then buried a 3-pointer, capping 11-0 Trinity run as the Pioneers now had a commanding 18-10 lead.

The pace of the game was finally picking up, as Mercedes McDermott answered with a 3-pointer of her own. Then Kolden made a steal and layup as Trinity now led 24-15.Graveline drilled a 3-pointer, and it was 28-17 Pioneers at halftime. Tilton sat for the last few minutes of the 2nd quarter with 2 fouls and that's when Trinity made their run.

Dover got back in the game in the 3rd quarter. Tilton banked in a runner in the lane, Kaitlin McDermott hit a 3 from the right wing followed by a pair of free throws for Wotton. Then Wotton cut to the rim, caught a pass in stride and finishes inside for 2. That cut the Trinity lead to 28-27, capping a 10-0 run for the Green Wave.

"We changed up our defense a little bit in the 2nd half" Coach Casey said. "We went back to man-to-man, which is our strength. Our girls came out with more passion and desire in the 2nd half."

Wotton continued to work hard inside, scoring 2 more to cut the Trinity lead to 31-30. Torres answered right back with another explosive drive to the bucket and finish to push the lead back up to 33-30. Junior Hope Willard hit a wide open 3, and then Meehan also hit a 3 off a kick out by Torres. Trinity now led 39-33. Then Willard cut to the rim, finishing inside off a pick-and-roll play. Wotton continued to attack the rim and be active in the paint keeping Dover in it. It was 41-37 Trinity after 3 quarters.

In the 4th Abby Cooke converted back-to-back put-backs for Dover, cutting the Pioneers' lead to 43-42. On the other end Kolden made a layup off a nice dish by Meehan. That's when Boyatsis tied it up at 47-47 with her big 3-pointer, and you know how the rest went.

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