2017-01-11 / Sports

Wildcats battle past Tigers

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By TIM TAYLOR

NEWPORT — There was nothing “girly” about Monday's clash between the Fall Mountain and Newport girls basketball teams. The two engaged in an aggressive and physical battle for 32 minutes, neither wanting to give an inch.

In the end, the Wildcats prevailed 50-35, but it wasn't a cake-walk by any means. After a sloppy start by both teams, FM found its groove and went on a 12-0 run that carried into the second quarter, giving the visitors an 18-4 lead.

“I thought the play was aggressive on both sides and we got into foul trouble so that hurt us,” said Newport coach Ross Dole. “We had to make some adjustments and girls had to sit, but they pretty much fought through that. We didn't foul out until near the end.

“I liked the way the girls played until the end. I thought that's the first game they played more minutes harder.”

“It was real sloppy,” said FM coach Jon Aumand. “A win is a win. We're going to take it and we'll build off it.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game. Newport is always a tough team. Ross is doing a great job with those girls. We feel like we know those girls personally. I think it's a great match-up for the most part. They got in foul trouble early, which we capitalized on that. We tried to keep attacking.”

Once the Tigers got back on the scoreboard with 5:42 left in the half, the two teams played pretty evenly and FM carried that advantage into the half with a 26-14 cushion.

Fall Mountain was up 6-4 when its burst began with 2:15 left in the opening period. The Wildcats would close out the quarter going 4-for-8 at the free throw line for a 10-4 lead. Ella Stewart scored six of her 10 first-half points in the quarter to set the pace.

Despite the run, FM would score can its first field goal in a six-minute stretch when Allie Stoddart made it 12-4 in the second and a three-pass move down the court to Zoey Luopa for a layup made it 14-4. Stoddart and Luopa would step to the charity stripe and make four consecutive foul shots before Newport's Alexis Hurd halted the run with a bucket at 5:42.

Hurd was wide open under the basket on an inbound pass for the easy two. She would add two more points on her next attempt to close the gap to 18-8 and knocked down the final basket of the half.

In between, Dana Dearborn hit a pair of free throws, Stewart finished off a 3-point play and followed up with another foul shot to push the advantage to 26-12.

Newport guard Selena Coronis drained a 3-pointer to open the second half, but Stewart countered with a free throw, then a bucket to keep the lead at 12. Hurd retaliated with four straight free throws to trim the margin to 29-21, but the Wildcats answered right back again.

This time it was Brooke Aumand with her dangerous hook shot and she followed it with another basket to push the lead to 33-21. Stoddart added a free throw and Luopa a basket to increase the gap to 36-21 before a Hurd basket and Alyssa Burr free throw closed it to 36-24 heading into the fourth quarter.

Aumand stayed aggressive in the fourth and it paid dividends with six trips to the stripe. She wen3-for-4 early n the final period, then stole an inbound pass for a bucket and a 41-24 lead. She canned two more foul shots midway through the period and went 4-for-6 at the line down the stretch, giving her 11 points during the final eight minutes of action.

The two teams combined to attempt 24 free throws in the fourth quarter and accumulated 67 for the night. Fall Mountain went 24-for-46 while Newport was 12-for-21.

Aumand would lead a trio of Wildcats in double figures with 18 points. Stewart added 15 and Luopa 10.

Hurd would pace Newport with 14 points.

“The first half we struggled,” Dole said. “I thought we got a little more patient the second half, the defense buckled down a little bit … we played a lot better the second half.”

“First half we played good,” Aumand said. “Second half we got out of rhythm and Ella got in foul trouble, but that didn't dictate what the game was, because we were very much in control but we were sloppy at it.”

FM (6-1) hosts unbeaten Kearsarge (8-0) Friday evening while Newport (2-5) crosses the border for a rematch with Windsor (7-1).

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