Defense Keys Wahconah Girls' Win in Quarter-Finals
DALTON, Mass. — The Wahconah girls basketball team Thursday took care of business at home as it moved on to the Western Mass Division 3 semi-finals after a win against Frontier, 50-23.
It wasn’t always convincing on the offensive end for Wahconah, but with its stellar defense, it was able to generate some easy offense to get things going in the game early. Wahconah jumped out to a quick lead on the shoulders of Maria Gamberoni, who had eight in the first-quarter and a game-high 17 points.
It was the first quarter that set the tone for the rest of the game, and it was hard for Frontier to climb back into it. One of the major differences in the game was Wahconah’s ability to turn offensive rebounds into points.
It wasn’t a convincing lead for Wahconah as it had spells where it had trouble finding points, but its always stalwart defense was able to hold Frontier to five points in back-to-back quarters en route to a 30-10 half-time lead.
“We haven’t played in a week,” Wahconah coach Liz Kay said. “We were out of sync for a little while, but I think we needed to get more paint touches, which was our focus at halftime. They are big so they packed it in pretty good and they were more physical at times early on.”
In the second half Wahconah continued to put the pressure on Frontier with good defense making it hard for them to get back in the game. This quarter was led offensively by Noelle Furlong who had five in the quarter. A big help for the offense outside of the usual Gamberoni and Furlong came from Morgan Marauszwski, who was able to knock down a few 3-pointers allowing for more interior work to be done.
“I thought Morgan had a great night, I think that is what we need, we are always going to get production from Maria and Noelle, but we really need a kid like Morgan to step up like that. I thought Becca [Morris] played great defensively and we did make adjustments that we needed to make to get ourselves in a position to win.” Kay added.
Furlong finished with 13 points, and Marauszwski scored 12.
Wahconah eventually went to the bench and rode this game out in comfortable fashion, something you would expect from the top-seeded team in the sectional.
The win sends Wahconah to Curry Hicks Cage for a semi-final matchup with the No. 5 seeded Sabis, a 44-41 winner at fourth-seeded Greenfield on Thursday.
Video: Noelle Furlong knocks down a deep three in a win over Frontier, 50-23.