By: Ross Laorenza
The Winnacunnet girls basketball team improved to 6-5 on the season with a 40-35 victory over Trinity. The Warriors led by 9 with under a minute and a half, but saw the Pioneers come on strong late in the 4th quarter. Two free throws from Emily Britton finally put the game out of reach.
"I think that Trinity never stopped playing, and in a game like this tempo was so important..." said Warriors head coach Cassie Turcotte. "Games are all about momentum and all about runs, and Trinity's run was well timed to narrow out that gap at the end, to make it a lot closer of a game than I was comfortable with."
The first quarter was the most competitive of the game with the lead changing hands multiple times. Trinity jumped out to a 5-0 lead behind shots from Aaliyah Black and Josie Zelensky. Winnacunnet would use the next few minutes to surge ahead. An 8-0 run propelled them in to the lead. Ashely Aversano scored twice in part of the streak. Zelensky got behind the zone to cut the lead to 1 point.
With just over 4 minutes to play in the quarter Emily Britton was at the line shooting two shots. She made them both. A quick 4-0 run gave Trinity the lead again with both baskets scored by Eireann Kolden. Winnacunnet ended the quarter on a 5-0 and took a 15-11 lead into the second quarter.
The Warrior defense completely shutdown Trinity in the 2nd quarter. They blocked shots, they deflected pass and didn't allow a point until 47 second were left in the half. Over that time they were able to extend the lead to 15 points. Two 3-pointers (1 by Britton, 1 by Lauren Considine) and baskets from Ashley Gallant and Danielle Boucher all took part in the run. Trinity would close the half with a 5-0 run, but Winnacunnet still lead 26-16.
The 3rd quarter was nearly a mirror image of the 2nd. Trinity's offense began to click and Winnacunet's began to slow. A three by Britton and layup by Jenny Freedman were the only Warrior baskets of the third. Their defense still applied plenty of pressure, but the Pioneer offense got to them for 8 points. At the end of the third. Warriors: 31, Pioneers: 24.
It felt like the game might just coast to and end, but Trinity ramped up the intensity in the final quarter. Down as many as 9 points, they never counted themselves out. With 1:27 Emily Britton made two free throws for Winnacunnet to give them a 37-28 lead. On the Pioneers ensuing possession Jackie Attar was fouled while taking a three. She made 2 of 3 free throws to keep Trinity alive. Hannah Driscoll had a chance to pad the lead when she went to the line for 1-and-1, but she missed the front end. Missed opportunities really made this game closer than it seemed.
A 3-pointer from Attar cut the lead to just four points. Ashley Gallant went to the line to shoot 2, but an offensive foul by Danielle Boucher gave the ball and momentum back to Trinity. With under a minute to go Maddy Haynes hit a layup for Trinity. It was 37-35 Winnacunnet. With 31.2 seconds left Driscoll went 1 for 2 at the line, still leaving it a one possession game. The ensuing Pioneer possession ended with a errant pass falling out of bounds and with 5.7 seconds remaining Emily Britton ended all hopes of a comeback, sinking two free throws. Final score, Winnacunnet: 40, Trinity: 35.
Emily Britton lead all scorers with 19 points. She carried the load for the Warriors scoring nearly 48% of her teams offense. Not other Winnacunnet player had over 5 points (Considine: 5, Aversano: 4). Eireann Kolden was the only Pioneer in double figures. She finished with 10 points in the loss.
It was a tough fought game until the very end tonight. Both defense showed the ability in the middle quarter to really slow down the opposing offenses. It will be interesting to see how the teams progress through the remainder of the season.
From Hampton, New Hampshire; Ross Laorenza: New Hampshire Notebook