Saturday, February 27, 2016

Pembroke Takes Care of Business vs. Timberlane

On Friday night it was senior night in Pembroke for their girls basketball team. The Spartans did what a 12-5 team should do to a 7-10 team - they beat them. Pembroke played tough defense and got a balanced scoring attack, led by sophomore wing forward Morgan Allen (game-high 13 points), sophomore guard Olivia Langevin (11 points) and senior forward Karli Loiselle (9 points), the Spartans beat Timberlane 51-38.

Timberlane won the first meeting between these two teams 55-49 back on January 22. What was different this time? The Owls allowed Pembroke to get too many offensive rebounds and too many open looks at the basket. The Spartans moved the ball on offense better than Timberlane did - Pembroke was the better team.

It was a match-up of contrasting styles. Timberlane is led by their backcourt duo of sophomore Brooke Rooney and senior Ally Ruth, while Pembroke is led by their bigs Madison Allen and Karli Loiselle. Could Pembroke match-up with Timberlane's guards? Could Timberlane match-up with Pembroke's bigs? It turned out that Pembroke was able to match-up with Timnberlane's guards just fine, as they held Rooney to just 5 points and Ruth to only 6. Meanwhile the Spartans dominated the paint all game and the boards, getting points in the paint an rebounds at will.

It was a back and forth game early on. Rooney drove the lane and hit a leaner over Loiselle defending to get the Owls on top 2-0. Pembroke immediately started establishing their inside game though, as Madison Allen dished it inside to Loiselle for the layup.

Timberlane senior forward Ally Collins took it strong to the rim for a lefty finish in transition. Morgan Allen put the Spartans back on top 6-4 with a put-back. Then Pembroke ended the 1st quarter on a 13-0 run. They won the game by 13 points, so clearly this run was the difference. Langevin sneaked in for an offensive rebound and put-back, as nobody on Timberlane put a body on her. Then Pembroke used some good ball movement to set up Morgan Allen for a layup. Soon after that Loselle converted a put-back, as the Spartans were dominating the boards.

Pembroke got yet another offensive rebound, and took advantage of the extra possession as junior guard Briana Connolly drained a wide open 3-pointer. Timbnerlane was playing a zone defense, and wasn't getting out on the Spartans' shooters. Then the Owls committed yet another turnover vs. the Pembroke press. Sophomore guard Elizabeth Donzello-Jewett hit a layup to cap the 13-0 run and make it 19-6 Spartans after 1 quarter.

Over the next 3 quarters, Timberlane played Pembroke even. It's just that they dug themselves to big of a hole in that 1st quarter to climb out of. Rooney used a killer crossover dribble to get into the lane and dish it to Collins for a layup early in the 2nd quarter. On the other end the Spartans kept getting the ball inside, with Loiselle dishing it to Madison Allen for a layup. Then Morgan Allen connected on a 15-footer from the baseline - another wide open look.

Pembroke sophomore guard Brooklyn Zanis (whether she was actually born in Brooklyn is unconfirmed) slashed into the lane for a floater to put the Spartans lead back to 13, 26-13. Junior wing Celia Prescott countered on the other end for Timberlane by hitting a 3-pointer from the left wing. Then Ruth buried a 3 of her own, as the Owls closed the 1st half on a 6-0 run, but still trailed 26-19 at halftime.

Langevin drove to the rim for a lefty finish early in the 3rd quarter. But then Pembroke missed 3 layups in a row and that allowed Timberlane to get back in the game. Senior guard Courtney Sickel grabbed a steal and took it all the way in from 3/4 court for a layup, scoring over a bigger defender (Loiselle). Then Sickel drained a 3-pointer off the catch from the left wing, cutting the Pembroke lead to 29-26.

But then just when the Owls pulled within striking distance, Pembroke responded with an 11-0 run. Loiselle was working hard inside, grabbing offensive rebounds and going up strong with shot attempts. She hit a pair of free throws, Zannis drilled a 3-pointer off the catch and Morgan Allen converted a put-back, as the Spartans took a commanding 36-26 lead after 3 quarters.

Pembroke capped their 11-0 run, as Morgan Allen hit a 15-footer (another wide open look), and Donzello-Jewett scored inside for 2. That made it 40-26 - the largest lead of the game for the Spartans.

Ruth countered just seconds later by connecting on a 3 to try and keep Timberlane in it, but on the other end Pembroke quickly got the ball inside to Morgan Allen for a layup. Rooney hit a pull-up 3-pointer, but on the other end Madison Allen made a nice pass to Donzello-Jewett cutting to the basket for a layup. Langevin buried a 3-pointer, extending the Spoartans' lead to 47-35 with just 2:10 left in regulation. The Owls refused to give up though, as Sickel (team-high 11 points) hit a 3-pointer off the catch. Pembroke held on from there for the 51-38 win.

This was the final regular season game for both teams. Pembroke finishes at 13-5. They are the #6 seed in the D-II tournament and will host #11 seed Coe-Brown in the D-II prelims on Tuesday night. Pembroke won the regular season meeting between the two teams 37-32.

Meanwhile, Timberlane finishes the regular season with a 7-11 record. They will be the #13 seed in the D-II tournament, and will travel to Amherst on Tuesday night to take on Souhegan in the prelims.

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