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Joyce Endee

Bears reach finals, fall to Newfound

Winnisquam girls' hoop team settles for runner-up spot at Lakes Region Holiday Tournament

Winnisquam’s Angie Roy fights for a rebound with Jordan Phinney of Newfound during the championship game of the Lakes Region Holiday Basketball Tournament on Dec. 29. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
January 02, 2012
GILFORD — It was a tough end to an otherwise outstanding three days for the Winnisquam Regional High School girls' basketball team on Dec. 29, as the Lady Bears ran into a tough Newfound Regional opponent in the championship game of the Lakes Region Holiday Basketball Tournament. Newfound claimed the 38th installment of the eight-team tournament, thanks to a 46-34 victory at Gilford High School.

"We thought if we did what we were supposed to do, we could get to the finals and then see what happened from there," said Winnisquam coach Everett Andrus. "(Newfound) is a really good team. They're the most athletic team we've seen so far."

A relatively even first quarter saw Newfound take an 11-8 lead after the opening eight minutes, thanks to a late Sara Andrus three-pointer for the Bears.

But Newfound exploded in the second frame. After Hannah Willcutt sank a jumper to cut the lead to 13-12 with 4:15 left before halftime, Newfound got into rhythm offensively, rattling off 14 straight points to end the half and take a commanding 27-12 lead at intermission.

"That second quarter killed us," said Andrus. "Turnovers in that quarter really hurt us. We knew they were going to pressure us but there were too many times where we didn't even get a scoring opportunity. We'd lose the ball before we even got a shot off and then they'd turn those turnovers into offense on the other end."

Despite trailing by 15 at the half, Winnisquam came out determined in the second half. Hannah Chapin got things started with a three-point play, and Angie Roy and Mackenzie Burdick also contributed offensively to cut into the deficit at 36-22 after three quarters.

But the Bears weren't done yet, as free throws from Burdick to start the fourth and back-to-back hoops from Chapin and Taylor O'Connor had Winnisquam as close as it had been since the second quarter at 36-28, sending the pro-Bear crowd into a frenzy.

"We're not a team that's going to come back from 10-plus points down so our goal at halftime was to get it down to eight and then chip away in the fourth," Andrus explained. "We made a run and we had a chance to score a couple more times but we just couldn't convert."

Newfound scored 10 of the last 16 points to close out the win, though the loss did little to deter the efforts of the previous two days.

O'Connor led the Bears with nine points, while Chapin chipped in seven as eight different Winnisquam players scored in the finals.

Burdick was honored after the game as a first-team all-tournament selection, while O'Connor was named to the second-team.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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Varney Smith
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