Spartans battle back, edge 'Bolts for tournament crown
The Cranston East Lady ’Bolts fell to the Scituate Spartans, 39-36, on Friday evening in the Hank Orabone Holiday Tournament championship game at Cranston High School West. Senior center Jane Owens led Scituate in the game with 13 points and earned the Most Valuable Player Award for the tournament. For East, Anayah Melgar finished with 15 points, including three 3-pointers and Maia Caito added 13.
The ’Bolts led for much of the contest before Scituate rallied back late and stole the game.
“They just pressured the heck out of us,” Cranston East first-year head coach Frank Kiser said. “They got really good guard play. And honestly, we just turned the ball over too many times. If you turn the ball over 44 times in a game, you’re not going to beat anybody. We came out strong early in the game, but then we just let them back in it. Scituate is very fast. They’re not big, but they’re fast. They kind of wore us out. Our conditioning was an issue at the end of the game.”
Last year, East graduated a couple of 1,000-point scorers in Sarah Coutu and McKenzie Richards, and that has left the ’Bolts with just three girls that played varsity basketball last season.
“Our margin for error is razor thin,” Kiser said. “We’ve got eight freshmen on the team, so we’re very young. So, we’re going to have nights like this.”
Melgar got the ’Bolts on the board first when she buried a 3-pointer and put her squad up, 3-0. Then, Scituate scored three the old-fashioned way when Owens scored an and-1 after putting back an Alexia Parker miss.
After that, East took a 9-3 edge when Caito made a layup and Melgar hit a 3.
On Scituate’s next trip, sophomore guard Madison Medbury assisted across to Owens, who made another layup while being fouled. Owens would make the freebie and pulled Scituate within three.
Then, East went on a 10-0 run. It started when Hope Halvarson passed inside to Caito for a bucket. Then, Melgar and Halvarson both buried 3s, before Caito capped off the spurt with a spinning layup, giving the ’Bolts a 21-6 lead.
Then, it was Scituate’s turn, and it put together a 12-0 run of its own.
Senior guard Samantha Oster got the spurt started when she spun before putting it off the glass. Next, Owens made a layup after a steal from Medbury. Then, with 4:35 remaining in the half, Leah Bessette made a runner and pulled Scituate within 21-18.
East ended the half with a Melgar fast break layup, and took a 27-22 advantage into the break.
East’s Isabella Ferry scored the first points of the second half. Following that, Melgar made a foul shot and gave the ’Bolts an eight-point lead with 13:28 to play.
Scituate’s Bessette responded with a putback. Then, Owens scored after an inbound pass and cut the Scituate deficit to four.
With 7:36 remaining, Scituate got within 32-30 when Rachel Oster dished to Parker for a layup. Then, East answered when Halvarson passed to Ella Glantz, who left it for Caito and she laid it up and pushed East’s lead to four.
However, Samantha Oster sank a free throw, and then Medbury went coast to coast for a layup and pulled Scituate within 34-33 with 4:32 left.
A minute later, Bessette drew the foul on Caito and made a pair from the charity stripe to give Scituate its first lead of the game at 35-34.
East answered when Phoebe Herriott passed to Caito for a layup and put her team up one. Nonetheless, Bessette answered for Scituate and gave her team a 37-36 edge with 2:31 left.
With 1:06 remaining, Owens put back a Parker miss and extended Scituate’s lead to three. Halvarson tried to tie it with a 3 of her own after that, but it missed the mark and Scituate walked away victorious.