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Castleberry Fairs

Fourth quarter woes sink Panther girls in semis


Winnisquam outscores MA 17-5 in the fourth to pick up the win



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Brittney Hale drives past Winnisquam’s Hannah Willcutt during MA’s 45-31 loss in the semifinals of the Lakes Region Holiday Basketball Tournament on Dec. 28. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
January 02, 2012
GILFORD – Winnisquam guard Taylor O'Connor scored all 11 of her points in the fourth quarter of a tight ballgame, as the Bears pulled away for a 45-31 win over Moultonboro Academy in the semifinal round of the Lakes Region Holiday Basketball Tournament at Gilford High School on Dec. 28.

"I think we stopped getting nervous and started playing together more as a team," said O'Connor of the Bears' success in the fourth quarter. "After that first shot went in, I started to go up stronger."

Winnisquam led just 28-26 after three quarters, but the Bears came alive in the final stanza. Mackenzie Burdick, who led all scorers with 17 points, converted a three-point play to start the quarter, setting the stage for O'Connor. The speedy backcourter scored her team's next nine points, getting out in transition and ahead of the pack on several occasions, and Winnisquam led 40-28.

The Panthers managed just five points in the fourth, thanks to buckets from Brittney Hale and Kes Baker, and O'Connor finished things off with a jumper late to secure the 45-31 victory.

"She came alive," said WRHS coach Everett Andrus of O'Connor. "(In the first round), she couldn't find it and I don't think she had a shot attempt before the fourth quarter tonight. This game was slow in the first three quarters and her game is fast so once we got moving a little bit, she took advantage."

MA trailed 23-17 at halftime, but a third quarter run saw the Division IV Panthers come all the way back and take the lead. Courtney Delaney converted her own three-point play to cut the lead to 25-22, and back-to-back hoops by Hale and Lexi Welch gave the squad a 26-25 lead with 2:40 left in the third quarter.

"We've been getting the ball inside a lot more lately, taking fewer three's than we did at the beginning of the season," said MA coach Mike Andriski. "That's something we've been working on and I think it's been good for us."

Winnisquam took the lead back thanks to free throws from Angie Roy and Burdick, setting up a fourth quarter run to pull out the win.

MA junior Kaitlin Slippy played well on both ends of the floor, and though she finished with just two points, most of the Panthers' offense flowed through the forward. But foul trouble plagued Slippy, and she picked up her fifth late.

"They had nobody who could really match up with her so when she picks up her fourth foul with about seven minutes left, it kind of snowballed from there," said Andriski. "I had her out there with three (fouls) because we couldn't win the game with her on the bench. But playing with four fouls changed how she had to play a little bit and they took advantage."

Hale led MA with nine points, while Delaney and Julia St. Amand each chipped in with five for the Panthers. Jessica Hiittner added four points, all from the free throw line.

"(Hiittner) did a great job stepping up and that's what this tournament is all about," said Andriski. "We got a lot out of playing in these two games and hopefully that can continue forward."

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