Amber Plummer delivers a pass around a Fall Mountain defender in Division III quarterfinal action on Feb. 25 in Bristol. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
February 27, 2012BRISTOL — With their win over Fall Mountain in the Division III quarterfinals on Saturday, Feb. 25, the Newfound hoop girls finished off what they hoped to accomplish when the season started.
"They achieved their preseason goals," coach Karri Peterson said. "They finished 16-2, they won the Gilford tournament and they made the Final Four.
"But the girls just said, 'we're not done yet,'" the Bear coach said after her team's 48-44 win over fifth-seeded Fall Mountain in the quarterfinal round in Bristol Saturday.
The Bears opened the game with 10 of the first 12 points and opened up a 10-2 lead with two minutes to go in the first quarter.
Allison Dorey got a rebound and hoop and Amber Plummer hit a free throw for the first three points of the game.
After the Wildcats hit their first hoop of the game, Plummer drilled a basket and Jordan Phinney grabbed a rebound and put it home for a 7-2 lead.
Dorey then sank a three-pointer from the corner in front of the Fall Mountain bench with 2:01 to go in the quarter to give the Bears the 10-2 lead.
Fall Mountain closed out the quarter with the final two hoops, cutting the lead to 10-6 after eight minutes.
The Wildcats continued their run to open the second quarter, scoring the first nine points of the frame and opening up a 15-10 lead before an Emily McArthur free throw put Newfound back on the board with 2:45 to go in the half, ending a 13-0 run over a span of more than seven minutes.
After another Fall Mountain hoop, Allie Symonds drained a three-pointer to cut the lead to three and Plummer sunk a hoop with 1:15 to go, cutting Fall Mountain's lead to 17-16 heading to the halftime break.
Newfound continued its run to open the second half, as Plummer hit a hoop, Phinney finished off her own steal and then put home a rebound for a 22-17 lead, finishing off an 11-0 run.
The Wildcats sunk a three-pointer to cut the lead to two, but Phinney sank a three-pointer and Plummer drilled another hoop to push the Bear lead to 27-20 with 4:16 to go in the third quarter.
After another Wildcat hoop, Alex Jewell sank a long field goal to push the lead to 29-22. Fall Mountain hit a free throw to close out the quarter with Newfound up by a 29-23 lead.
Dorey opened the fourth quarter with a hoop and Jewell drilled a big three-pointer with 5:50 to go in the game, upping the lead to 34-23.
Fall Mountain fought back, getting a free throw, a three-pointer and a field goal to cut the lead to 34-29 with just under four minutes to play in the game.
Phinney sank another hoop to push the lead back to seven, but consecutive hoops from the Wildcats cut the lead to three with 2:50 to go in the game.
Plummer then hit a hoop, Jewell hit two free throws and Plummer hit one, stretching the lead to 41-33 with 1:42 to go in the game.
The Wildcats hit another hoop, but free throws from Jewell and Phinney pushed the lead to 43-35 as the clock ticked under one minute to play.
Plummer hit two free throws with 35 seconds to go to push the lead to 10, but the Wildcats drilled a three with 21 seconds to go. Dorey hit a free throw with eight seconds to go, but the Wildcats hit another three-pointer with three seconds to go to cut the lead to 46-41.
Plummer hit two more free throws before the Wildcats hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to account for the 48-44 final score.
Peterson admitted that the second half was not really planned, but rather adjusted to what Fall Mountain presented to them. With the Wildcats in mostly man-to-man, deep threat McArthur didn't come off the bench in the second half.
"We kind of freelanced our offense in the second half," Peterson said. "I told them, we've got people running lanes and we're not hitting them.
"The whole thing was taking the ball to the bucket and if you're open, take the shot," Peterson continued.
The Bear coach knew her team needed to get through Fall Mountain's two girls inside, but the Wildcats concentrated most of their defense on Phinney and Plummer, as well as McArthur when she was in the game.
"They didn't guard Alex, Abbey (Symonds) and at times, Allison," Peterosn said. "It was up to the three of them to hit shots."
She told Plummer to attack the hoop and the sophomore did just that, getting most of her points by going to the bucket.
"Amber has finally started playing the way Amber can play," Peterson said. "I see it in practice and wonder when it's going to show up in a game.
"I know she's capable, but we didn't see it a lot in the season," the Bear coach continued. "But the last two games she's done what she does in practice."
Plummer finished with 16 points on the night, while Phinney had 12 points and Dorey and Jewell each put in eight points.
With all preseason goals met, the Bears headed to Southern New Hampshire after deadline on Tuesday, Feb. 28, for a matchup with the top-seeded Campbell Cougars at 8 p.m. in the Division III semifinals. The finals will take place on Saturday, March 3, at 6 p.m., also at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at email@example.com or 569-3126