WAKEFIELD – Phil Quinn doesn’t expect the Prout girls basketball team’s play to win a beauty contest.
But even he could admit Wednesday’s win over West Warwick wouldn’t have earned the Crusaders $10 in a game of Monopoly.
Prout committed 19-first half turnovers, consistently left the Wizards’ dangerous outside shooters open and looked ready to lose Wednesday night’s home game. In the final 10:14 the Crusaders turned things around, committing only five turnovers as Maddie Hagerty took over the game offensively and Ashley DiClemente provided a spark off the bench in the Crusaders’ 49-45 win.
“We win ugly, but that was an ugly win,” said Quinn, whose team improved to 5-3 overall, 2-1 in Division II-South. “It was not pretty.”
We’re all happy about it same with coach,” said DiClemente, who scored nine points and had four assists off the bench. “We do have things to work at at practice [Thursday], but we’ll get better.”
West Warwick was up 31-28 with 10:37 left when everything turned around for Prout.
It started with ball control. The Crusaders trailed at halftime not because they were shooting poorly – a solid 9 of 23 – but because they turned the ball over on 19 of their 38 possessions.
The trend continued in the second half as Prout turned it over five times in the first 5:33 of the second half, but for the rest of the way the Crusaders treated the ball like they were the Grinch and it was a Christmas present headed to Whoville. Prout finished the half with five turnovers in their final 22 possessions and after back-to-back turnovers, only had three in the final 5:30 of the game where the Crusaders outscored West Warwick 15-7.
“That’s been our issue. The game against Narragansett [a 47-46 loss on Jan. 4] we handled their pressure but turned it over against the 2-3 zone,” Quinn said. “I feel like we handled [West Warwick’s] pressure for the most part, but it’s in the halfcourt. We’re not strong with the ball; it’s telegraphing passes, throwing the soft pass or throwing the non-square hook pass we’ve patented over the years.”
DiClemente was a big help in winning the turnover battle.
Normally sure-handed guard Kate McCormack was struggling against the pressure from West Warwick’s defensive wizard – no pun intended - Sarah LaMountain and had seven turnovers in the first 6:30 of the game. DiClemente, a senior, spelled the sophomore and was excellent, turning it over three times while leading the team with four assists.
She also made all four shots from the floor, three in the second half, including a strip-and-steal with a foul that put Prout up 44-38 with 3:38 left and a jumper with 2:13 left to maintain the six-point lead.
“It just kind of happens,” DiClemente said. “I’m not looking to shoot.”
Hagerty was and it showed how she’s grown from a quiet scorer to one of the more dominant players in Division II.
After West Warwick opened the half with back-to-back threes to extend their halftime lead to 30-22, Hagerty got Prout back into the game with a pair of baskets, then assisted on a jumper by Brittany Donovan that made it 30-28 with 12:32 left. Hagerty scored on a layup that started Prout’s excellent final 10:14 and made a layup that helped the Crusaders reclaim the lead at 34-33 with 8:50 to play.
All told, Hagerty scored 14 of her game-high 20 points in the second half and finished with a team-best 13 rebounds and two-blocks.
“She’s really good,” DiClemente said, “and I just look to pass to her because she can do moves and score layups like it’s nothing.”
“We still need her to be more aggressive and assertive … that’s what she did,” Quinn said. “She was a lot more aggressive and a lot more assertive than she’s been the last couple of games.”
Prout nearly let the game slide away at the end. Up 46-43, Donovan made the front end of a pair of free throws but missed the second; the ball was rebounded by Hagerty, who was fouled and made both.
After a stop, McCormack was fouled with 22.9 seconds left; she missed both, but the ball was rebounded by Hagerty, who got it out of the paint and killed some clock before Tori Jedson was fouled with 11.2 remaining.
“The defense was good,” said West Warwick coach Mike Francois of his team’s effort. “It was just rebounding the ball defensively [that wasn’t].”
West Warwick also hurt itself by not converting in the first half. After creating the 19 first-half turnovers, the Wizards only managed to score five times and turned it over on six of those possessions.
“The girls just have to understand they need to value the basketball,” Francois said. “They do the hard work on defense and they need t come down and capitalize on all the hard work that created the turnover.”
Prout hopes to keep the turnovers out of the equation Friday at 7 p.m. when it plays a big game on the road against East Greenwich (2-1 Division II-South) before playing Toll Gate (0-3 D-II South) Tuesday at 7 p.m.
“There was a ton of stuff I could say that we need to work on or didn’t do well. I’ll address it because we need to get better because there is not a freebie any night,” Quinn said. “Division II-South is the toughest top to bottom, there’s no doubt.”
WEST WARWICK 45
Sarah LaMountain 2-4 2-3 6; Mikaela Grosso 1-7 3-4 6; Cara Genest 4-14 0-0 8; Mackenzie Ramsay 6-15 0-0 15; Briana Gough 0-4 5-8 5; Amy Carney 0-3 1-2 1; Maya Suggs 1-2 1-3 3; Andrea Resendes 0-1 1-2 1. TOTALS 14-50 13-22 45.
Tori Jedson 2-8 1-4 6; Kate McCormack 0-4 0-2 0; Brittany Donovan 1-12 1-2 3; Maddie Hagerty 8-13 4-7 20; Jackie Tousignant 3-5 1-4 7; Ashley DiClemente 4-4 1-1 9; Katie Burke 0-1 0-0 0; Riley Martin 1-1 2-2 4; Cat Schmidt 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS 19-48 10-22 49.
Halftime: West Warwick 24-22. 3-pointers: West Warwick 4-18 (Ramsay 3-9, Grosso 1-2, Genest 0-4, Carney 0-3); Prout 1-9 (Jedson 1-4, McCormack 0-3, Donovan 0-1, Burke 0-1). Rebounds: West Warwick 32 (Ramsay 8); Prout 47 (Hagerty 13). Assists: West Warwick 8 (LaMountain 4); Prout 14 (DiClemente 4). Turnovers: West Warwick 20 (LaMountain 7); Prout 29 (McCormack 9). Steals: West Warwick 17 (Suggs 5); Prout 9 (McCormack 3). Blocks: west Warwick 3 (LaMountain, Ramsay, Carney 1); Prout 2 (Hagerty 2). Total fouls: West Warwick 21; Prout 18. Fouled out: Ramsay.