Amber Plummer puts up a shot against Prospect Mountain pressure on Jan. 13 in Alton. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
January 16, 2012ALTON — There was no doubt that the Friday, Jan. 13, battle between the Newfound and Prospect Mountain girls' basketball teams was going to be a physical fight.
Both teams play a physical style of game and there was plenty of back and forth action, but the Bears pulled away with a 10-0 run to open the second quarter and never looked back, rolling to a 53-36 win in Alton.
Prospect coach Gordon Bilodeau pointed to two things that sunk his team.
"Missed shots kill you," Bilodeau said. "And our boxing out was probably the worst I've seen."
Newfound coach Karri Peterson noted that it certainly wasn't her team's best effort either.
"We weren't executing on the offensive end," Peterson said. "If we didn't get the first option, we'd stop running the offense.
"If you make the defense defend for two shifts in a row, you're going to get open shots," she continued.
Both teams went on streaks in the first quarter, as the Bears and Timber Wolves both saw shots fall.
Newfound scored the first six points of the game, as Jordan Phinney hit a pair of free throws to start the scoring and two Amber Plummer steals resulted in hoops, the first by Plummer herself and the second by Allison Dorey, giving the visitors a 6-0 lead.
An Emily Barrett free throw and a Sahara Brown rebound and hoop cut the lead to 6-3, but Newfound rolled right back, hitting eight points in a row to stretch the lead to 14-3.
Alex Jewell drilled a three-pointer to open the run and Phinney hit a hoop and a free throw and Emily McArthur drilled a shot to close out the run.
However, Prospect Mountain went on its own 8-0 run to close out the quarter, as Barrett, Brown, Chelsea Tierney and Shannon Meyer all hit hoops to cut the lead to 14-11 after one quarter.
The Bears roared loudly to open the second quarter, scoring the first 10 points of the frame. McArthur started the quarter with a three-pointer and Carah Marceau and Abbey Symonds followed with hoops to stretch the lead to 21-11. Dorey then drilled a three-pointer for the 24-11 lead before Ella Montminy hit two free throws to get the Timber Wolves on the board in the frame.
McArthur hit another three-pointer but Brown followed with a pair from the charity stripe and Martha Rasbridge hit a bucket to make it 29-17. However, Marceau and McArthur hit buckets for the Bears to close out the half with a 33-17 lead.
The two teams were fairly even in the third quarter, though Newfound won the frame by a 10-7 score.
Symonds hit a free throw to get the Bears on the board first and Hope Carazzo answered with a bucket for the Timber Wolves. Barrett followed with a free throw to cut the lead to 34-20, but a rebound and hoop from Dorey, a pair of buckets for Phinney and a Dorey free throw stretched the Newfound lead to 41-20.
Brown hit a hoop for the Timber Wolves but Dorey answered with a hoop for the Bears. Anna Hingston closed out the quarter with a hoop for the hosts on a nice feed from Rasbridge to make it 43-24 after three quarters.
The Bears scored the first four points of the fourth quarter, as Plummer drained a shot from beyond the arc and Marceau hit a free throw. Montminy then drilled a three-pointer to start a Prospect run. Brown, Meyer and Hingston all had rebounds and hoops to make it 47-33, but Phinney drained a pair of free throws and Plummer hit a hoop to keep the Bears comfortably in the lead. Barrett hit a bucket and Phinney followed with two free throws. Brooke Burley hit from the line to close out the scoring at 53-36.
"If we limited them to one and done, it would've been a whole different story," Bilodeau said of the team's tough rebounding night. "The whole defense the girls played was very strong, but they weren't boxing out."
He noted that Meyer and Hingston both had strong games off the bench for the Timber Wolves, as Meyer had some key baskets and Hingston did a great job on defense, as has been her specialty so far this season.
"And offensively, she's not hurting us," Bilodeau said of Hingston. "She knows her role."
The Timber Wolf coach praised the Bears for their well-rounded offense.
"In this league you can usually take care of one, but most teams don't have the skill to take care of two or three," he said.
Peterson was happy her team shot well from beyond the arc (five of eight), but was not happy with the 14 for 65 from inside.
"There were a lot of putbacks on rebounds and we just kept missing," Peterson said.
"Teams can play us box and one or triangle and two, but our biggest thing is we don't have a go-to person on the inside, so it makes it hard in man-to-man," the Bear coach continued. "In some man-to-man we get what we're looking for, but sometimes you get a physical team."
She noted that with the Timber Wolves being a very physical team, her girls seemed a bit apprehensive about taking the ball to the hoop knowing they were going to get hit.
She noted that Plummer did a good job of going to the hoop but couldn't get her shots to fall inside and Symonds did a good job distributing the ball from the outside.
The Bears had to play the second quarter without Phinney, who picked up three fouls in the first quarter, but the rest of the team stepped up, something Peterson said is the norm for her squad.
"All season, that's what happens," she said. "Someone else always steps in when we need it. If we get four kids in double figures, we're not going to lose many games."
On the night, Brown led the Timber Wolves with 10 points, while the Bears had three in double figures. Phinney had 13 points, McArthur chipped in with 12 points and Dorey had 10. Plummer had seven in the victory.
More Timber Wolves
Prospect opened the week with a 45-32 loss at Bow on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
The Timber Wolves will be in action at Campbell on Friday, Jan. 20, for a 7 p.m. game and will be at Inter-Lakes for a 6:30 p.m. game.
Bilodeau notes that his team has endured a tough stretch, but after the Campbell game he expects his squad to be competitive the rest of the way.
"It's been a tough stretch for us, but after this we'll be competitive with every team out there," the first-year coach said. "Hopefully they can get the learning curve down and understand how to pull out a tight game."
The Bears opened the week with a home game with Franklin on Jan. 10. Newfound defeated the Golden Tornadoes by a 56-42 score.
The Bears came out quick, as Phinney and McArthur got hot early. Phinney drained three three-pointers and McArthur added five points as the Bears led 14-4 early, only to have the visitors storm back to cut it to 18-15 after one quarter.
Newfound took control in the second quarter, as they outscored Franklin 17-2 to take a 35-17 lead to the break. Phinney put in nine more points in the frame. Newfound won the third by a 15-9 score, with McArthur hitting for seven of those 15 points.
Franklin rallied in the fourth, winning the last quarter by a 16-8 frame to round out the 56-42 final.
"It was a game of scoring spurts and outside shooting," Peterson said.
Phinney finished with 23 points, seven rebounds, six assists and five steals. McArthur added 19 points and Plummer had 10 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Next up will be a home game with Winnisquam on Friday, Jan. 20, and will head to Gilford on Tuesday, Jan. 24, and to Franklin on Thursday, Jan. 26. All three games start at 6:30 p.m. and the Franklin game will be the second game of a varsity doubleheader with the boys playing at 5 p.m.
The Newfound JV girls outlasted the Timber Wolves by a 49-23 score behind the dominant play of freshman Karissa Bony, who dropped in 30 points. Hingston led Prospect with 11 points.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at email@example.com or 569-3126