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Timber Wolf girls fall in tourney semis



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SARAH ADAMS puts up a shot in the face of Winnisquam pressure during action Dec. 28 in Gilford. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
January 04, 2010
GILFORD — The Prospect Mountain girls' basketball team came into the Lakes Region Holiday Tournament and turned in a fine effort on opening night, only to take a step back the following evening.

The Timber Wolves opened the tournament against Winnisquam on Monday, Dec. 28, in Gilford.

It took the Prospect girls a few minutes to get going, as the Bears scored the first two hoops of the game for a quick 4-0 lead. However, a pair of free throws and a field goal from Sahara Brown tied the game midway through the frame. Baskets from Sydney Robertson and Kelsey Hopper gave the Timber Wolves an 8-4 lead before the Bears hit a pair from the line to cut the lead to two.

However, Rachel Roberge drained two baskets before the final whistle of the first quarter and the Timber Wolves had a 12-6 lead after eight minutes of play.

Winnisquam netted the first three points of the second quarter and the Timber Wolves didn't get a point until Hopper got a rebound and hoop with 3:45 to play in the frame. The Bears closed the gap to one point with 2:32 to play before a Roberge three-pointer stretched the lead to 17-13.

Winnisquam, however, hit a free throw then a three-pointer with 30 seconds on the clock to pull even, sending the teams to halftime tied at 17.

The Bears scored the first points of the second half, but a hoop from Roberge tied the game at 19. After another Winnisquam bucket, Robertson hit a free throw to cut the lead to one point. Roberge then drained a three-pointer and Kristi Maciejewski hit a field goal to put Prospect up by a 25-21 score.

A Winnisquam free throw closed the gap to three points, but hoops from Sarah Adams and Robertson stretched the lead to 29-22 and an Adams free throw made it an eight-point game before the Bears hit a free throw of their own

Hopper hit a hoop and Adams added a pair of free throws in the final minute to give the Timber Wolves a 34-23 lead after three quarters of play.

Brown hit the first hoop of the fourth quarter and after a pair of Hopper free throws, the Prospect girls had a 38-23 lead. However, two three-pointers by the Bears cut the gap to 38-29.

Adams then took control, connecting on an old-fashioned three-point play, then hit two more free throws down the stretch. Robertson also hit a pair of buckets to seal the 47-29 win for the Timber Wolves.

"I thought as the game progressed, we got better and got patient in the pressure," coach Jeri Blair noted. "Every game you see the improvement handling the pressure."

He was also pleased with the way his team played on the defensive end, holding a solid Winnisquam squad to under 30 points.

"They're starting to believe in themselves a little bit and that means so much," Blair said. "And it's fun to coach them because they're listening.

"At the beginning of the game they had their heads down (facing the press) and at the end of the game they had their heads up," Blair added. "We've been trying to work on that, telling them that when they run into pressure to get their heads up."

Roberge led the way with 12 points, but suffered an injury late in the second half, an injury that forced her to miss the second game of the tournament the following night. Adams had a great second half, pouring in all of her 10 points in the final 16 minutes. Robertson added nine points and Hopper had eight.

The Timber Wolves returned to Gilford the following evening for a tournament semifinal matchup with the host Golden Eagles, a team the Timber Wolves had beaten a week earlier in Alton.

The Golden Eagles wasted no time jumping all over the Timber Wolves, as they put together an 8-0 run out of the gate to take a solid lead in front of their home fans.

A Brown free throw with 3:44 left in the first quarter accounted for Prospect Mountain's first point of the game and after another Gilford hoop, Robertson hit the team's first field goal, making it 3-10 with 30 seconds left in the quarter. The Golden Eagles added another basket for a 12-3 lead after one quarter.

The Timber Wolves seemed to strengthen a bit on the defensive end in the second quarter, as they allowed the Golden Eagles only six points and closed the gap a bit.

Hopper hit a pair of free throws and a field goal to make it 12-7. Gilford got its first points of the frame with 2:26 to play in the half and Hopper answered with another hoop to make it 14-9. A bucket by Adams closed the gap to 14-11, but the hosts got a bucket off a turnover and added another basket at the halftime buzzer for an 18-11 lead at the break.

Gilford scored the first basket of the second half, but Adams answered to keep it close. Gilford scored again and Robertson added a rebound and hoop to make it 22-15. After another Gilford hoop, Maciejewski drained a three-pointer to cut the lead to 24-18.

However, the hosts scored the final two baskets of the third quarter and took a 28-18 lead into the final frame.

The Golden Eagles scored the first two points of the fourth quarter, but Kristine Adams answered with her first hoop of the tournament. However, the hosts then scored five points in a row to stretch the lead to 15 before Hopper hit a hoop to stop the streak. After another Gilford bucket, Adams and Hopper added back-to-back hoops to make it 37-26.

Gilford then hit three free throws and three field goals in the final minutes to close the book on the 46-26 victory.

"We didn't pass the ball well and committed too many turnovers," Blair said. "And I thought we were a little flat."

The first-year Timber Wolf coach was also a bit surprised that his girls didn't do a better job handling the defensive pressure.

For the game, Hopper led the way with 10 points and Adams added six.

Hopper was named to the All-Tournament First Team for her play in the two games.

The Timber Wolf girls will be on the road on Friday, Jan. 8, for a 6:30 p.m. game at Farmington. The Tigers are coached by former Alton Central JV coach Gary Noyes Jr., and are coming off a championship in their annual holiday tournament last week. The girls will return home on Tuesday, Jan. 12, for a 6:30 p.m. game with Franklin.

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