High schools: Belmont, Hopkinton ousted from D-III girls’ basketball tourney

Monitor staff
Published: 2/24/2019 12:34:43 AM

They started the season with a 73-37 loss to these same Orioles. They ended the season pushing the No. 1 seed and defending champions to the brink of a quarterfinal upset.

Despite clear improvement, the No. 8 Belmont girls’ basketball team (11-9) fell short of the upset and ended the season with a 46-37 loss at No. 1 Conant (17-2) in Jaffrey in Saturday’s Division III quarterfinal matchup.

“I couldn’t be prouder of this group of girls,” Belmont head coach Mark Dawalga said. “Overall it was our best game of the season.”

It looked like it could be a painful campaign for the Raiders when Conant beat them, 73-37, on Nov. 30 in the season opener, but Dawalga and his squad got to work, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

Belmont did not allow more than 54 points in a single game after opening night and that same defensive effort was clear from the outset of Saturday’s quarterfinal with Molly Sottak, Morgan Hall and Lizzie Fleming playing well defensively and Katie Galambos playing especially well marking Conant’s top scorer, Mariah Chamberlin.

The defensive effort held the high-powered Orioles to single digits in the first quarter and allowed the Raiders to take a 15-9 lead after one frame.

Conant played strong defense of its own, keying in on Belmont’s top scorer and 1,000-point club member Julianna Estremera, but fellow senior MacKenzie Donovan stepped up, scoring eight of her 11 points in the first half to help the Raiders maintain a slim halftime lead, 22-21.

“She controlled the tempo,” Dawalga said. “I’d say we played 85 percent of the game at our pace. She was phenomenal.”

With Estremera being held to four points, Fleming stepped up offensively as well, netting seven points.

Also playing key roles and logging significant minutes on the court were freshmen Alexis Donovan and Jaylin Alderman, who Dawalga credited with showing great composure against the defending champs.

“At the beginning of the season I didn’t know how much (the freshmen) would play,” Dawalga said. “We knew going in other girls would need to step up and they all did.”

Conant eventually took the lead in the third and held a 29-28 advantage heading into the final frame.

The Orioles extended the lead to four points with five minutes to go and to six points with three minutes to go before the Raiders were forced to foul and Conant headed off any potential comeback by converting free throws down the stretch.

“We take a lot of pride (in this season),” Dawalga said. “We grew so much. They really figured it out by the end. I couldn’t be prouder of a group of young ladies. It’s hard to describe it any better than that.”

Girls’ Basketball

Division III Tournament

No. 3 Newfound 46, No. 6 Hopkinton 32

Key players: Hopkinton – Amelia Thomas (20 points, 11 rebounds), Ellie Owen (defense); Newfound – Paulina Huckins (16 points), Ashlee Dukette (10 points), Bailey Fairbanks (10 points)

Highlights: The Hawks led 6-4 after the first quarter, but the Bears scored 17 points in the second to take control of the game. Huckins scored six of her 16 points in the second quarter to jump-start the run and stifling any chance of Hopkinton repeating last year’s quarterfinal upset over Newfound.

Coach’s quote: “We played hard but it wasn’t our night. Congratulations to Newfound. We had a successful season and I am proud of this team for all that they accomplished together this year.” – Hopkinton’s Pat Roye

Records: Newfound 17-3; Hopkinton 14-6

Girls’ Basketball

Kennett 44, Bow 36

Key players: Bow – Lauren Goyette (12 points), Megan Remick (10 points), Jessica Chamberlin (7 rebounds), Lauren Goyette (6 rebounds)

Highlights: The Falcons played with high energy on Friday night and played traded baskets with the host Eagles throughout, but fell short in the fourth quarter.

Coach’s quote: “I am proud of their play tonight, offensively and defensively, and I believe we will be ready for the playoffs.” – Bow assistant Al Douglas

Records: Kennett 17-1; Bow 8-10

Boys’ Hockey

Concord 8, Bow 2

Key players: Concord – Matt Hauschild (2G, 2A), Devin Philbrick (G, 2A), Derek Kelleher (2G), Ryan Philbrick (2G), Shane Riley (2A), Evan Makris (2A), Kyle McKinnon (G), Parker Taylor (10 saves), Will Pegnam (3 saves); Bow – Jake Mielcarz (2G), Nate Carrier (37 saves), Jason Howe (22 saves)

Highlights: The Falcons began the finale of their inaugural Division I season with a strong first period, holding Concord to 2-2 at intermission, but the Tide outshot Bow, 62-15, and scored five second-period goals to put the game away.

Coach’s quote: “I thought we moved the puck really well and had some nice setups to find the open man.” – Concord’s Dunc Walsh

Girls’ Hockey

Berlin-Gorham 2, Concord 0

Key players: Berlin – Lauren Frenette (33 saves)

Highlights: The Tide peppered the Mountaineers’ net, outshooting host Berlin, 33-10, but the Mountaineers scored a pair of goals in the first period. The Tide has the No. 3 seed heading into the playoffs.

Coach’s quote: “This isn’t the outcome we were looking for before heading into the playoffs but we’ll take this, regroup and prepare ourselves for the quarterfinals.” – Concord’s Patrick McDonough

Records: Berlin 12-5-1; Concord 13-5-0

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