By: Ross Laorenza
For three and a half quarters it seemed Dover had a firm grip on tonight’s game. They led 30-21 with 4:00 minutes to play before Alvirne mounted an impressive comeback, outscoring Dover 15-1 down the stretch. The Broncos took their first lead of the game with just over a minute to play when Kaycee Carbone (#3) found herself open for a three pointer, off an inbounds play. They would add 4 more points, including an amazing full court football pass to Amanda Wetmore (#15) to seal the game with 8 seconds remaining.
“They have a lot of heart,” said head coach Steve Tracy, “It was a gutsy win by a bunch of young kids.”
The Broncos’ team feature 7 sophomores, 2 juniors and only 1 senior (Carbone), after a foot injury ended Emily Barry’s season. Coach Tracy gave credit to a very tough opponent in Dover, “They have six seniors who have been together for a long time.”
One of those seniors, Abby Tilton (#20) gave her team and early 5-0 edge with a corner three. Dover’s 2-3 zone defense gave Alvirne trouble early on as they tried feed the ball inside to Marissa Sweeney (#23). Sweeney would find some room down low to score the Broncos’ first points of the game.
Sam Ratte (#11) played an aggressive defense all game fighting through picks to defend the three point threats from Dover. Ratte hit her first shot with just over 4 minutes to play in the first quarter to cut the Dover lead down to one point.
Kaite Boyatsis (#5) would find her way to the basket putting Dover up 7-4. With the paint on lockdown Alvirne looked elsewhere to points and found 3 in the hands of junior Jess Baker (#10). Baker’s three-pointer tied the game at 7 and it would stay that way for a while.
Both teams clamped down defensively for the remainder of the 1st quarter and well into the 2nd. It took until the 3:45 mark for Abby Tilton to break the scoring draught with a deep three. Sam Ratte, back into the game after a short breather, took the ball the length of the floor following a deflection to cut into the Dover lead. But, another three-pointer, this time from Abigail Cooke, put the Green Wave up 13-9.
Allison Benson (#23) grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to extend the lead 15-9. With just 53 seconds remaining in the half Sam Ratte took a three point attempt. The shot missed, but she was fouled on the play and headed to the line. Ratte made 2 of 3 to close out the scoring in the first half. At the half, Dover: 15, Alvirne: 11.
Kaycee Carbone opened the scoring in the third quarter with her team trailing by 4. Her shot cut it to a two point deficit. Abigail Cooke answered for Dover with a three-pointer. Then Sam Ratte scored for the Broncos to leave the score 18-15. After a miss by Alison Benson, Katie Boyatsis grabbed the rebound and scored. Timeout Alvirne.
The Broncos looked solid out of the timeout baskets from Carbone and Nicole Teague (#22). But Dover would close out the quarter with 4 points of their own. First, Mercedes McDermott (#32) got position down low and scored. Then, after an Alvirne turnover, Boyatsis dribbled the length of the floor and scored with a pretty finish at the buzzer. At the end of the 3rd quarter, Dover: 24, Alvirne: 19.
Dover continued to feed the ball to McDermott early in the 4th. With two strong moves to the basket she increased the Green Wave lead to 28-19. Marissa Sweeney and Abigail Cooke traded shots and Alvirne trailed 30-21 with 4:00 left in the game. Cue the comeback!
The Broncos really hunkered down and pressured the Dover shooters late in the game. With a strong move to the hoop, Sam Ratte drew a foul and made both free throws. 30-23. Amanda Wetmore got to the line, making 1 of 2. 30-24.
The Alvirne D pressured Cooke as she tried to move up court, causing her to step on the sideline. After some solid ball movement Nicole Teague got open for three and nailed it. 30-27. Ratte came up again on the defensive end, stealing the ball and going the length of the floor. 30-29 Dover.
Emily Benson ended the 8-0 run, getting to the line and making 1 of 2 for Dover. It would be the team’s last point of the evening.
Alvirne had an inbounds play still trailing by 2 points with just over a minute to play. Carbone. Open. THREE. GOOD!!!! Broncos take a 32-31 lead.
Dover tried to counter but the shots would not fall. Alvirne stepped up their perimeter defense and challenged for every rebound. With 45 second to go the Broncos passed the ball around, out high before finding Nicole Teague down low for two more points. The final basket came thanks to a beautiful full court pass to Amanda Wetmore who hit the lay-up with 8 seconds remaining. Final Score, Alvrine: 36, Dover: 31. An unbelievable comeback by the Broncos, outscoring Dover 15-1 in the final minutes.
Sam Ratte led all scorers with 12 points. Kaycee Carbone finished with 10 points including that clutch three late in the 4th. Marissa Sweeney totaled 7 points.
Abigail Cooke was the only Dover player in double figures. She finished with 10 points. Her teammates Katie Boyatsis, Abby Tilton and Mercedes McDermott all finished with 6 points each.
“The pressure at the end, I think, won it,” said Coach Tracy postgame, “It wasn’t always pretty, but I have to give Dover credit. Just two tough teams gutting it out.”
From Alvirne High School in Hudson; Ross Laorenza: New Hampshire Notebook