Gilford’s Paige Laliberte tries to haul in a rebound during her team’s 41-33 win over Newfound on Dec. 21. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
December 27, 2012GILFORD – If only the Gilford High School girls' basketball team could open every game like this.
The host Golden Eagles stormed out to a 16-3 lead and never looked back on Dec. 21, entering vacation week with a solid 41-33 victory over Lakes Region foe Newfound Regional in Division III action.
"We knew (Newfound was) tied with us in the standings so we couldn't take them lightly," said senior forward Abby Harris, who scored a game-high 14 points and hauled in 12 rebounds. "We all remembered last year when they absolutely destroyed us so we knew we had to come out with intensity."
Gilford (4-2) flat-out dominated the first quarter, as senior Paige Laliberte scored off the opening tipoff and things just rolled from there. Harris scored four points in the frame, as did front line partner Hayley Jakubens.
On the defensive end, the Eagles shut down a Newfound team that likes to shoot from the outside. Gilford's zone was aggressive, getting out on Amber Plummer, the Bears top offensive option. Plummer didn't score a point in the first quarter – in fact, Newfound managed just a single field goal (a three-pointer from Allie Symonds) and trailed 10-3 after one.
"The key to the game was our defense in the first half," explained Gilford coach Rick Forge. "We shut down Amber Plummer and Karissa Bony early on. You don't want those kids getting into a rhythm early."
The quick started carried into the second quarter, as Harris, Molly Dietrich and Jakubens scored six straight to extend the Gilford lead to 16-3 with 5:07 remaining.
Newfound (3-3) closed within 20-10 on a Courtney Douville jumper, but Dietrich and Harris scored late to vault the Eagles into the locker room ahead 24-10.
"I've got to hand it to our wings. Our weak side drop was very good and that's something we've worked on in practice," said Harris.
Foul trouble plagued Harris in the third quarter, as she picked up her third of the night with 6:34 remaining and was forced to sit for the remainder of the period.
The Bears made a little bit of a dent into the deficit, but Maddie Harris' three-point play with 1:30 left in the third extended things to 31-19 entering the fourth.
The younger Harris pulled down four rebounds to go along with her three points, and the freshman, along with classmates Cassidy Bartlett and Jordan Dean all contributed in the second half.
"We got quality minutes out of all three of those girls and that's what we're looking for out of them," said Forge.
Newfound would get within seven points on two occasions in the fourth quarter (37-30, 35-28), but free throws from Abby Harris, a jumper from Dean and a layup from Jakubens iced things late for the big win.
Gilford shot an impressive 19 of 39 (49 percent) from the field in the victory.
"We were what they call…efficient," said Forge.
Jakubens finished with eight points and eight rebounds on the night, while Dietrich chipped in six. Bartlett did a nice job controlling the tempo off the bench when she came into the game in the second quarter.
Bony led Newfound with 10 points, eight of those coming in the fourth quarter. Plummer totaled nine points, all of those coming after intermission, while Symonds scored all nine of her points on threes.