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PROVIDENCE â€” There was no doubt in Lindsay Rachlowâ€™s mind that her team would be competitive in Division II this winter.
In her first season as head coach of Burrillville High last year, Rachlow watched her Broncos struggle during the adjustment stage with an 0-9 start. But they then ran off eight straight victories to eventually make the playoffs. From that squad, only two seniors graduated.
â€śThey came in (this year) and played hard over the summer,â€ť she said. â€śThey all worked on their game. They are all athletes. It was just a matter of them getting their chemistry together more than anything.â€ť
With the season a few games past the midway point, itâ€™s obvious the chemistry is there for the Broncos. After a rather routine 57-25 rout of winless Hope in its II-North tilt Monday afternoon at the Blue Waveâ€™s gymnasium, Burrillville improved its record to 8-3 and moved into second place in the league.
Rachlow admits her coaching style is similar to her former mentor Marty Crowley, who she starred for in 2003 when the Broncos won the Div. III state crown.
â€śThere is not really a difference mentality-wise,â€ť she said. â€śI keep that same mentality that he had here; just have pride in the uniform and play hard. I was a big leader in defense. Thatâ€™s one of our biggest things. I donâ€™t really focus on offense. If you play well defensively then things will happen offensively. Thatâ€™s how we do it.â€ť
The Broncos dominated the Blue Wave, now 0-9 in the league, for most of the game. It didnâ€™t start off that way, though. With about six minutes remaining in the first half, Hope trailed Burrillville by just a single point after a layup from senior Chelsey DaCruz ( 14 points) put her teammates behind by a score of 12-11.
But led by sophomore Tori Libby, the Broncos quickly regained order. Libby, who netted a game-high 20 points, fueled a 14-0 run by scoring the first eight points. Burrillville eventually took a 30-12 lead into halftime and the game was never close.
â€śWe came out to a slow start,â€ť Rachlow said. â€śWe were a little flat-footed. It happens sometimes when we play down to our competition. We lose some of our fundamentals in that first transition.â€ť
â€śMy starting lineup is sophomores and juniors with one senior,â€ť she continued. â€śItâ€™s really who we are playing is how we come out. Unfortunately, thatâ€™s kind of the way itâ€™s been for us.â€ť
Libby has been one of several talented players for the Broncos. She finished with 10 rebounds and seven steals along with her solid offensive night. Junior Emma Lapierre scored 12 points and had nine boards and senior Shannon Murphy had seven rebounds.
Libby has been averaging about 11 points and nine rebounds per game.
â€śShe is still growing,â€ť Rachlow said. â€śShe hasnâ€™t reached her full potential yet. She is playing stronger. She is just passionate about anything that she is doing on the court.â€ť
Burrillvilleâ€™s matchup with Hope was its first of six straight road games. On Wednesday, the Broncos face Scituate and then take on Tolman this Friday.
Burrillville will battle first-place Moses Brown next Tuesday.
â€śI like playing on the road,â€ť Rachlow said. â€śRight now our only loss on the road was against Johnston (a 51-36 defeat on Jan. 18). I like it. I like our heavy game schedule with one practice in between games. It keeps them in game shape. They like it to.â€ť
With seven league games left and a playoff slot already secured, it now all about improving each game and preparing for the second season.
â€śI am very confident,â€ť Rachlow said. â€śItâ€™s just a matter of maintaining and moving forward.â€ť