WOONSOCKET – The rematch proved to be no match.
The last time Woonsocket High faced Bay View Academy was in the Division I semifinals this past winter where the Villa Novans posted a 10-point victory en route to winning a state championship.
Eight months after the contest the two squads were back on the floor for a league opener at Savaria Gymnasium on Thursday night.
The final result wasn’t even close.
Bay View’s depth, grilling defense and overall intensity was just too much for the Villa Novans to handle as the Bengals earned their revenge in dominating fashion with a 49-24 victory.
The Villa Novans, a squad that lost a considerable amount of talent from last year’s squad, never had a chance. Bay View’s in-your-face defense forced Woonsocket to commit 29 turnovers in the game and disrupted its continuity all through the night.
For a team that has dominated its opponents the last four years, including claiming a Division II crown in 2009, the defeat was unfamiliar territory for the Villa Novans.
“Bay View was excellent. They came out with intensity. They’ve got a lot of talent. They work hard,” said WHS coach George Coderre. “The only thing that was disappointing was we didn’t even match that. I can live with making mistakes and not being successful, but you can’t give up. You can’t quit. I think some of our players got to learn that it’s just not going to come easy now.”
Bay View, which boasts more than a dozen upperclassmen, established control from the opening tip-off. The Bengals raced out to an 8-0 lead and built its advantage to 16 twice in the first half, including its 26-10 lead at halftime.
Woonsocket couldn’t buy a basket in the initial half, missing its first eight shots and shooting less than 15 percent from the field. The Villa Novans also committed 16 turnovers in the half, most of which the Bengals converted into points on the other end of the court.
“We just weren’t playing with confidence,” Coderre said. “Let’s not blame it on the ball not going through the basket. It’s our fault. When you are not shooting with confidence, when you’re rushing things, you are going to miss shots.”
Bay View coach Doug Haynes saw exactly what he wanted to see out of his talented squad in the game’s opening half.
“We got our transition game going, which was good. We started making the easy baskets and then later on the outside shots started falling in,” he said. “We came in thinking that we want to keep it an up tempo game, push the ball up every time we get a rebound, make baskets, get rebounds every time we push it up and try to get easy baskets on them.”
One particular player that the Bengals focused a lot of their attention on was returning all-stater Ashley Dubois. The Woonsocket senior was often double-teamed any time she got her hands on the ball. Dubois finished with a team-high seven points, but she only had two in the opening half.
“She’s a dangerous big girl,” said Haynes, about the 5-foot-9 Dubois. “You have to pay a lot of attention to her. She’s going to be inside and I think she can handle the ball a little better, too. We had to find out where she was at all times on the floor.”
Bay View, which had more than a dozen steals in the contest, had 11 of its players make the score sheet. Junior Rachel Battista, an all-division player last year, led the Bengals with 13 points.
The Bengals, who copped a state title in 2005-06 and was a state runner-up the next three years, have the makeup for another run to the state finals, according to Haynes.
“I got four seniors and there are nine juniors so they got the experience,” he said. “They all played. We still play a lot of kids. I have a lot of confidence that we can get there. It’s really up to them now.”
Kailey Fugere had 13 rebounds for the Villa Novans and Dubois grabbed nine boards. Woonsocket will try and regroup when it plays host to Cumberland on Tuesday.
Coderre believes his team can be competitive despite having an abundance of junior varsity players from 2009-10, but it might have to adjust its mentality a little.
“I think each one of them has to search inside,” he said. “They need to take more responsibility for what is going on. Don’t look to point the finger at someone else, accept the responsibility. We are going to get better but it’s going to require everybody to make some adjustments. We all have to accept some responsibility for our lack of success right now.”
BAY VIEW (49) – Vandell Andrade 3 0-0 6, Lauren Kriete 1 0-0 2, Rachel Battista 5 0-0 13, Christina Palavra 2 0-2 4, Paige Stenberg 4 0-2 8, Maggie Rakovic 2 0-1 4, Megan Martin 2 0-0 4, Yasmeen Luna 1 0-2 2, Johanna Dombrowski 1 0-0 2, Mackenzie Smith 1 0-0 2, Taylor Jackvony 1 0-0 2. Totals – 23 0-7 49
WOONSOCKET (24) – Michelle Brayboy 0 2-2 2, Allyson Cartier 2 0-0 4, Ashley Dubois 2 3-5 7, Kailey Fugere 2 0-3 4, Caitlyn Marcoux 2 1-2 5, Amanda Sloan 1 0-0 2. Totals – 9 6-12 24
Halftime – BV, 26-10. 3-point goals – BV (3): Battista 3.