Strong Second Half Drives Seekonk's Comeback Win Over Dighton-Rehoboth
Girls Basketball: Seekonk 53, D-R 49
SEEKONK - Two quick Dighton-Rehoboth buckets to open the second half extended the Falcons’ lead to nine, 29-20, and prompted Seekonk coach Bill Paulo to call a timeout less than a minute into the third quarter.
Whatever he said to the Warriors worked, because Seekonk outscored Dighton-Rehoboth 33-20 the rest of the way for a come-from-behind 53-49 victory Tuesday night.
“We played much better in the second half,” Paulo said after the game. “We were kind of going through the motions in the first half, we had no energy. We picked it up in the second half, pressed a little bit to get ourselves back in the game. There’s no quit in them. They worked hard out there.”
The Warriors came out of that timeout with an 8-0 run, highlighted by back-to-back threes from Kate Leinson and Lauren Paulo, to cut the deficit to one, 29-28. Dighton-Rehoboth coach Chris Perron called a timeout at 3:57 in the third, and the Falcons responded with a 9-1 run, capped off by a three by junior guard Emily D’Ambrosio, to extend the lead to nine, 38-29.
Seekonk senior Mia DiBiase cut the deficit to three with six straight points, a three-pointer and by hitting three free throws after being fouled on another attempt, as the Warriors trailed 38-35 entering the fourth. Seekonk pulled away in the final quarter thanks to four three-pointers, two from Maggie McKitchen and one each by DiBiase and Leinson, as the Warriors outscored the Falcons 18-11 in the fourth for the victory.
“Give Seekonk 100% credit. They earned the victory,” Perron said after the game. “We certainly had some opportunities to make some shots but they didn’t fall. Sometimes you play a game and it doesn’t work out for you but it’s not because you didn’t try hard, it’s because the other team beat you, and they beat us tonight.”
Seekonk improved to 5-3 on the season and will face Case Friday night on the road. The Falcons are also 5-3 and will face Bourne at home on Friday night.
REPORTERTODAY.COM MVP: DiBiase scored 15 of her game-high 21 points in the second half, including the Warriors’ last five points, which were all free throws when the game was tight at the end. The senior guard who is headed to Salve Regina next season attacked the basket hard in the second half when she attempted 14 free throws, but her biggest shot of the night came in the beginning of the fourth quarter, a three pointer from the top of the key that gave Seekonk its first lead, 42-41, since the beginning of the second quarter. “That was big,” coach Paulo said of the three. “That got us over the hump. We were saying we need a big one to get us over, and she hit it.”
STRONG INSIDE: The Falcons built a lead in the first half, partly because of their strong play inside from forwards Meg and Caroline Reed. The sisters combined for 13 first-half points as the Falcons worked the ball inside against Seekonk’s man-to-man defense. “Caroline is a heady player. We’re certainly trying to get her moving along,” Perron said. “She’s doing a good job helping us inside, a good compliment to her sister. Jenna Kelley too. All three of them have something to offer in our forward game.” The Warriors made a defensive adjustment in the second half, going to a 2-3 zone to get stronger in the middle. “Meg’s a real good player. We went to a zone instead of man and luckily they didn’t knock down as many shots as they could have. They have good shooters.” The Reed sisters combined for 20 points on the night, 13 for Meg and seven for Caroline.
FRESHMAN ELEVATES HER GAME: Seekonk freshman forward McKitchen scored 13 points, including a pair of three-pointers in the fourth quarter, while battling D-R’s forwards on the glass. “Maggie did a great job tonight,” Paulo said. “The last two, three weeks she’s really coming along. At the beginning of the season, she wasn’t setting her feet to shoot the ball. The last two, three games, she’s kind of calmed down a little bit and is knocking them down. She’s doing a great job overall and a good job on the boards too.”
BATTLING ILLNESS: D’Ambrosio, the Falcons’ leading scorer and a South Coast Conference all-star, was battling illness the whole game. The guard, who usually plays all 32 minutes of the game, was limited Tuesday night and it was obvious to everyone in the Seekonk High School gym that she was under the weather. It didn’t stop her from making the most of her minutes through as she finished with eight points, helped the Falcons break the Seekonk pressure as a ball-handler, and was diving on the floor for loose balls when she was in there. While Perron acknowledged some Falcons were battling illness, he was adamant that it wasn’t the reason for the loss. “That’s no excuse and we’re never going to give excuses,” he said. “We need to think of method that best suits the team when those things happen. We need to do a better job on the invisible stats, the little things that don’t show up in the stat column. We battled tonight but it wasn’t our best battle. Give all the credit to Seekonk.”
NOTES: Both teams came out slow on Tuesday night as the Falcons held a 3-2 lead after the first five minutes of the game and the Warriors holding a 9-7 lead after the first quarter. … Dighton-Rehoboth freshman guard Ella Damon finished in double figures with 11 points, highlighted by a layup off a D’Ambrosio steam to end Seekonk’s 8-0 third-quarter run. She added a steal and layup late in the fourth quarter to cut D-R’s deficit to two (49-47) … Sophomore Kate Leinson hit a trio of three-pointers and finished with 11 points for the Warriors. “She did a good job tonight,” Paulo said. … Meg Reed is the only senior on D-R’s roster, and Perron said the young Falcons will use the loss as a learning experience. “Everyone on the roster besides Emily and Meg have limited varsity experience,” he said. “We’ll learn from this experience tonight. They gained some experience in tight game tonight that’ll help us down the line.” … Paulo said the players who didn’t light up the scorebook still impressed in other ways. “Lauren Tortolani did a good job on the boards and covering Reed when she was in there,” he said. “Ally Dantas and Bria Dunphy did a nice job defensively and rebounding and all those little things that are important.” … Dighton-Rehoboth won the junior varsity game before the varsity took the court. … The Falcons will play their next five games at home, starting with Friday’s matchup with Bourne. Over the next few weeks, D-R (3-0 in SCC Blue Division) will also face league rivals Old Rochester and GNB Voc-Tech as well as a non-conference game against Dartmouth. … Seekonk is 1-1 in the Gold Division of the SCC and will face league rivals Case and Fairhaven in its next two games. … The season isn’t even half over, but the Falcons and Warriors are already in good position in terms of qualifying for the playoffs. With both teams sitting at 5-3 overall, the Falcons and Warriors both need to win only five of their remaining 12 games to punch a ticket to the MIAA postseason tournament.
SEEKONK 53, DIGHTON-REHOBOTH 49
Dighton-Rehoboth 7 18 13 11-49
Seekonk 9 11 15 18-53
Dighton-Rehoboth: Briana Malaguti 6, Ella Damon 11, Emily D’Ambrosio 8, Megan Reilly 4, Caroline Reed 7, Meg Reed 13.
Seekonk: Kate Leinson 11, Mia DiBiase 21, Lauren Tortolani 2, Ally Dantas 3, Lauren Paulo 3, Maggie McKitchen 13.
Dighton-Rehoboth: Briana Malaguti, Ella Damon, Emily D’Ambriosio.
Seekonk: Kate Leinson 3, Mia DiBiase 2, Ally Dantas, Lauren Paulo, Maggie McKitchen 2.