PALMER, Mass. -- There was a time not so long ago that the Wahconah girls' basketball team was on life support. The Warriors started the season off at 3-6 and were in serious danger of missing the Western Mass. tournament for the second year in a row.
Then came a big win against Drury in the Coaches vs. Cancer Showcase last weekend and Wahconah hasn't lost since, earning its fourth win in a row on Saturday with a 44-38 road victory over Palmer. June Blake's squad earned its fourth win in eight days and improved its record to 7-6 overall, using a 17-2 run in the second quarter to earn a 20-5 halftime lead.
The Warriors' big run came after a sluggish first quarter in which both teams managed just three points apiece. Senior guard Gabby Lavinio got the visitors going in the second quarter, however, scoring nine of her team's 17 points in the frame. Lavinio ended up hitting a pair of 3-pointers in the game on her way to a game-high 16 points.
"Our defense picked up our offense in the first quarter," Blake said. "Our shots were not falling but, defensively, we only allowed three points. We did a great job on defense again in the second quarter, and Gabby was able to get our offense going. Both teams shot the ball well in the third quarter, and we spent most of the quarter trading baskets. Palmer began to gain confidence offensively, which fueled their defense.
"They hung in this game and made a real push toward the end but, fortunately, we had the clock on our side."
After scoring just five points in the first half, the Panthers (8-7) blew up for 18 points in the third quarter alone. Palmer still trailed by 13 points heading into the fourth quarter, though, and couldn't catch up with Wahconah despite another strong showing in the final frame. Alyssa Darling was the top scorer for the hosts, matching Lavinio with a game-high 16 points.
Sophomore Katherine Lewis chipped in with nine points and three assists for the Warriors, while freshman forward Sarah Wilson had a nice game off of the bench with eight points and six rebounds.
Wahconah is now off until Thursday, when it hosts Lenox at 7 p.m.