DALTON, Mass. -- Gabby Lavinio made the plays that senior captains do on Saturday afternoon, sparking a big run in the third quarter that helped the Wahconah girls' basketball team earn a 51-46 win over Belchertown in the quarterfinals of the Division 2 Western Mass. tournament.
The fourth-seeded Warriors (12-9) trailed 26-23 at halftime but took control of the game by outscoring the fifth-seeded Orioles (15-7) 18-8 in the third quarter. Lavinio scored 12 of those 18 points, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers, a pair of two-point baskets and two foul shots to give Wahconah a seven-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
"It was a tough first half," Warriors head coach June Blake said. "We got caught up trading baskets for most of the first quarter, and we just didn't have a great defensive first half. The third quarter was really the difference for us. Gabby got us going offensively and holding them to just eight points was huge."
Lavinio continued her scoring in the fourth quarter, helping her team close out the win by going 5 of 6 from free-throw line. Overall, Lavinio made 10 of the 11 foul shots she took in the game, while Wahconah went 16 of 22 from the line as a team.
"It was a great effort by her to lead us in the fourth quarter," Blake said of Lavinio. "It's great to have someone like that that wants the ball in those kind of situations. She wants the ball in her hands and is able to get to the line and knock them down."
Fellow senior Shannon Lussier added 13 points and four rebounds for the Warriors. Sophomore forward Maddie Sprague, who hit a key three to increase her team's early in the fourth, chipped in with 10 points, a team-high eight rebounds and a team-high four assists.
Tea Spellacy led the Belchertown offense with 17 points. Jillian Cavanaugh also came though with eight points and eight boards.
Wahconah now advances to Thursday's semifinal game against Berkshire County rival Drury. The Blue Devils are 2-1 against the Warriors in three games this season and 5-1 against them overall in the past two years combined. The game will be held at the Curry Hicks Cage on the campus of UMass-Amherst. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.