COVENTRY- A last-second heave from beyond half court by Oaker senior Rylee Campbell fell short, as did the rest of her team on Tuesday night in a D-II showdown at home against Westerly.
Despite their defense holding the Bulldogs scoreless over the final six minutes of play, Coventry’s 11-0 run on the offensive end of the court to close out the game would not be enough, as Westerly escaped town with a 44-41 win.
“We never gave up, but our speed of play has to be better,” head coach Donna Beaudoin said after the loss, their first league defeat of the year, dropping them to 3-1.
Megan Albamonti (14 points) led the way for Westerly (4-1) along with teammate Isis Hamelin (13), as the Bulldogs never trailed throughout the second half of action.
Freshman Logan Bullock led the Oakers with 15 points, but saw her night get cut short when she had to be helped off the court with 4:28 remaining after suffering a bruised knee. Beaudoin expects her to be able to return in time for the team’s next game.
Senior point guard Elana Santilli put up nine points in the loss, while junior Madison Dessert had eight and senior Rylee Campbell, six.
The game was tied, 21-21 going into halftime before Westerly took control through the first ten minutes of the second half, looking like they were going to win running away.
A three-pointer from beyond the arc from Emily Haik, accounted for her only points of the night, but gave the visitors a 39-30 edge. That was followed up by a bucket and a free throw from Albamonti before another Bulldog basket gave them a convincing 44-30 lead.
“We need to play with more intensity and be more aggressive,” Beaudoin said of her team’s overall effort.
To their credit, they managed to claw their way back and make it interesting late.
A three-point play from Bullock right before her injury made it 44-33, while back-to-back shots from Campbell followed by a bucket from Dessert pulled the Oakers to within five points at 44-39 inside of two minutes remaining.
Sanitlli hit a shot with 21.5 seconds to go making it a one possession game, but that would be as close as Coventry would get. The team got the ball back with 6.8 seconds remaining, but committed a costly turnover on the inbounds play with Campbell attempting to atone for it with a desperation heave.
“We will go back to work tomorrow and keep working. It’s a long season and we try to take something from every game,” Beaudoin said, determined not to let the team’s first league loss get them down.
The Oakers will return to action on Friday when they travel to Cranston East before hosting Cumberland next Wednesday.