WINSTED — Defense and speed carried Housatonic’s girls basketball team to a 49-38 win at Gilbert on a cold-shooting night for the Yellowjackets in a top-of-the league showdown in the Berkshire League Tuesday.
“We kind of live and die by the three and they weren’t there tonight,” Gilbert coach Gerry Hicks said.
“Our game plan coming in was, if they don’t shoot their threes, we could get them inside,” Housatonic coach Steve Dodge said.
Gilbert’s Angie Delacruz (team-high 10 points) got the Yellowjackets (7-2; 5-2 BL) out on top with a baseline bucket, followed by a three off the backboard by Marci Moreira, but that bit of magic disappeared in a cloud of shooting frustration.
Despite a marked first-half rebounding edge, the basket turned into a moving target for the Yellowjackets while the Mountaineers (8-0; 7-0 BL) turned their athleticism and speed into a 10-8 lead, highlighted by a steal and two fast breaks in the second quarter.
“We’re not very deep, but we’re conditioned and we’re going to fast break,” Dodge said.
As three after three clanged off the rim for Gilbert, that formula was a charm for Housy. Madelynn Olownia (11 points) and Caroline Hurlburt (game-high 12 points) led the Mountaineer charge as a 21-14 halftime lead grew to 36-24 by the end of three quarters.
“If we can hold them under 30 or 32 points, we’ll be good,” Dodge said before the game. The Mountaineers were on their way to “good” regardless of the limit.
“I thought we settled for threes too much in the first half,” Hicks said. “When we started to attack in the second half, we did better.”
Attacking was better for Gilbert’s offense, but it traded off the positioning that kept Housy’s big girls off the boards in the first half.
Now, evening out the rebounds, 5-foot-11 freshman Sydney Segalla asserted herself with eight of her 10 points for the game and she and Olownia each had a block when the Yellowjackets tried to penetrate.
Leading 44-32 with a minute left to play, Sierra O’Niel (10 points) was Housatonic’s final weapon at the foul line. The senior guard was 4-for-4 when the Yellowjackets stopped the clock with fouls, helping to mute back-to-back threes by Gilbert sophomore Abbey Beecher in the final seconds.
HOUSATONIC 49, GILBERT 38
HOUSATONIC (8-0; 7-0 BL)
Tori Dodge 0-1-1; Caroline Hurlburt 5-2-12; Sierra O’Niel 2-5-10; Sydney Segalla 4-2-10; Ella Segalla 2-0-4; Christina Winburn 0-1-1; Madelynn Olownia 5-0-11; Totals: 18-11-49.
GILBERT (7-2; 5-2 BL)
Jill Wexler 1-2-5; Abbey Beecher 3-0-8; Angie Delacruz 4-2-10; Marci Moreira 2-0-6; Sydney Eisenlohr 1-0-2; Maryellen Marino 0-2-2; Dileysi Sarmiento 1-3-5; Totals: 12-9-38.
HOUSATONIC 10 11 15 13—49
GILBERT 8 6 10 14—38
3-point goals: H—O’Niel; Olownia. G—Wexler; Beecher 2; Moreira 2.