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Bears get on track, pummel Berlin for first win


by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

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Winnisquam’s Angie Roy battles for a rebound with Berlin’s Emily Tennis during the Bears’ 55-38 win on Dec. 6 in Tilton. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
December 10, 2012
TILTON – Two games into the season, the Winnisquam Regional High School girls' basketball team had failed to break 30 points and sat at 0-2 in Division III action.

The Bears needed to break through badly in game number three, and that's exactly what coach Everett Andrus' team did on Dec. 6.

Behind Angie Roy's 18 points, host Winnisquam overpowered Berlin High School in a convincing 55-38 win to enter this week 1-2 on the young season.

"It was very good to get this win," said Andrus, Winnisquam's second-year head coach. "It was a confidence builder for us going forward."

The Bears offense finally got jumpstarted after averaging just 28.5 points per game during the first two contests, losses to White Mountains and Laconia. Winnisquam worked the ball around effectively all night, finding open players for short jump shots and layups.

"If we're not patient, we make mistakes and that was the problem the first couple of games," admitted Andrus. "But tonight, we made two or three passes and found a ton of open shots. That made a big difference."

Trailing 8-7 in the early going, the Bears offense showed that patience to go on a big scoring run. Roy got it started with a jumper with 1:34 remaining in the first quarter, and junior Hannah Chapin followed with eight straight points. Dallis Austin and Rachel Willcutt closed out the 14-0 run with baskets of their own, as the Bears took a 21-8 lead with 3:57 left in the second period.

"Chapin's early shooting was very big," said Andrus.

Winnisquam's offense executed extremely well during the big spurt, forcing a Berlin team that was playing its second road game in as many nights to scramble defensively.

The Bears led 24-11 at halftime, as Chapin, Roy and Willcutt combined for 19 of the 24 points.

While Chapin was the star of the first half, Roy took things over in the third quarter as Winnisquam put the game out of reach very quickly. The senior scored nine points in the third quarter, as the Bears advantage grew to as many as 22 points (39-17). Kendra Lonergan added a bucket on a floater early on, and Bailey Long, playing in her first game of the season after suffering an injury during a scrimmage, chipped in with a putback as Winnisquam opened the second half on a 7-0 run.

Berlin's Jillian Williams tried to keep the Mountaineers in the game with a run late in the third and into the fourth, as the visitors used a 16-4 spurt that saw them get within 43-33 with 6:22 remaining. Williams led Berlin with 16 points despite playing through foul trouble.

But Winnisquam combated the run with baskets from Chapin and Kaylee Howard, while Roy and Austin sank free throws late. Freshman Tea Michaloski sealed the deal with a jumper in the final two minutes for the 55-38 victory.

Roy's 18 points led the way, as she scored in a variety of ways to aid in the first victory. Chapin added 10 points in the win, while Willcutt (seven points), Long (six) and Austin (six) also contributed offensively.

"When Angie's attacking, she has the ability to be a lethal scorer," said Andrus of Roy. "She can shoot the ball, but she's even more dangerous when she gets aggressive and goes to the basket."

The Winnisquam JV team also came away victorious against Berlin, though the Bears sweated out some tenuous final moments to improve to 2-1. Coach Amy Dutton's club led 28-19 late in the fourth quarter before the Mountaineers staged a furious comeback to tie the game late. Winnisquam hit free throws late and survived a last second missed shot for a 30-29 victory.

The JV Bears opened the season with a heartbreaking overtime loss to White Mountains on the road, as Winnisquam led in the final minute but turned the ball over and made some key mistakes at bad times. The Bears rebounded nicely in a win over Laconia however, and they got their second in a row thanks to the Berlin triumph.

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