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Wahconah Girls Hold on Late to Advance in Division 4

By Stephen Dravis
iBerkshires Sports - Print

11:46PM / Thursday, February 29, 2024

DALTON, Mass. – The Wahconah girls basketball team Thursday scored the game’s last five points – all at the foul line – to earn a 48-43 win over Winthrop in the first round of the Division 4 State Tournament.
Madison McCarthy scored 22 points to lead the way as No. 13 Wahconah (15-6) advanced to meet No. 4 Millis in the Round of 16 on Monday.
Millis (16-7) advanced on Thursday with an 82-23 win over Blue Hills Regional Vocational Technical.
Well into the third quarter in Dalton, it looked like Wahconah would run away with a dominant win over the Vikings (9-13), but Winthrop battled back.
It took some defensive stops and five-for-eight shooting at the foul line down the stretch to respond after the visitors got within five with just more than a minute to play.
“We hit a couple of key free throws there that were really important and took care of the ball just well enough,” Wahconah coach Liz Kay said. “And then, one-and-done [for Winthrop] a couple of times in a row there down the stretch was huge.
“To be good this time of the year, you’ve got to have a sense of urgency. I think we’ve had urgency in practice the last four or five days, where everything is about rhythm and routine and balance. So to make those shots at the end is a reflection of that.”
McCarthy made some shots from behind the 3-point arc early on to jump start Wahconah’s offense.
She scored the team’s first six points on triples and had three 3s on her way to an 11-point first quarter.
Wahconah had a 12-1 run at one point in the quarter and led by as many as 13 points after a 3 by Dani Barry (eight points). Winthrop got the final points of the period to trim the margin to 11 at 19-8.
Wahconah stretched that lead to 18 points in the second before taking a 29-13 lead into the locker room.
Late in the third, a McCarthy 3 that just beat the shot clock gave Wahconah its biggest lead of the night, 39-19, and it appeared well in command.
But the Vikings ended the third with a 3 from Polixeni Tsiotis and scored eight straight points to open the fourth. Kaylee Farrell (17 points) scored five, and Grace Fleuriel (eight points) had an and-one in Winthrop’s best run of the night.
Wahconah pushed the margin back to double digits thanks to a pair of Barry free throws and a McCarthy 3-pointer.
But Winthrop went on an 8-0 run that ended with a free throw by Farrell to make it 43-38 with 1:08 on the clock.
After a Wahconah turnover, Winthrop had a shot to make it a one-possession game. But it rimmed out, and Barry got the rebound.
Moments later, Samantha Kaley got to the line and made one to make it 44-38. Anna Doyle (eight points) went three-for-4 at the stripe in a pair of trips, and Kaley scored again at the line with 6.3 seconds left to provide the final margin.
The win snapped a two-game skid for a young Wahconah team that Kay said is growing up right before her eyes. Thursday’s game was another step in that development.
“We all go in with a game plan, right?” she said. “We go in with our game plan. They go in with theirs. And you hope they have to change theirs before we have to change ours.
“It’s really not running the plays. It’s what you run after the play breaks down. And I thought we did a really good job of that.”


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