WOONSOCKET --- On “Teacher Appreciation Night” at Woonsocket High, it seemed only fitting that the Novans taught Smithfield High a couple of lessons in rebounding and defense in their Division I-North rematch on Tuesday.
Junior forward Kailey Fugere scored a game-high 19 points, senior center Ashley Dubois added 16, and the duo also teamed up to rip down 28 rebounds to help the Novans avenge an earlier loss to the Sentinels and soar to an impressive 57-37 triumph.
The defending state champion Villa Novans, who boosted their fourth-place record in the division to 10-5, beat the Sentinels at their own game – playing superbly on the glass.
The Sentinels turned in an excellent game on the boards in their 47-43 win over the Villa Novans back on Jan. 11, but this time around, the Novans returned the favor. Not only did Fugere (16 rebounds) and Dubois shine in the paint, they helped the Novans score 20 of their points on putbacks of rebounds and another 10 on layups.
“What we did tonight, (Smithfield) will usually do to other teams,” admitted Woonsocket coach George Coderre. “That was a focal point for us tonight. Protect the ball, stop them from going to the glass, and rebound.”
Defensively, the Novans were also on top of their game, forcing the Sentinels to commit 20 turnovers (10 in each half) and limiting them to just five points in the final 6:11 of the first half to help turn a close game into a 29-20 command at the half.
“I thought defensively we did a terrific job,” added Coderre. “In the first half, there were several times when (Smithfield) nearly went the full 30 seconds in their possessions, and I think that didn’t allow them to get into their aggressive rhythm. That was big and I was really pleased.”
The Novans also received a nice game from junior guard Michelle Brayboy, who bagged four three-point shots and ended up tallying 14 points, and another junior guard, Caitlyn Marcoux, did a little bit of everything to help her team’s cause and earn some high praise from her coach.
“Katie was the stabilizing factor throughout the game that made a very big difference for us tonight,” added Coderre. “Her defense was excellent, her decision-making against the press, her good decisions in the offense – she was terrific.”
The Sentinels, who came into the game with a six-game win streak that put them in a tie for second place with Bay View Academy, fell to 12-3 and slipped into third place.
Like the Novans, the Sentinels did their part defensively and helped force their hosts into 24 turnovers, with junior guard Ashley Lasalandra leading the way with eight steals, but they didn’t have many answers for Fugere, Dubois, and their superior play in the paint.
Thirteen of Fugere’s rebounds came in the first half, and she scored all 10 of her opening-half points on putbacks. Her last two baskets of the half kickstarted a 13-5 run that helped give the Novans their nine-point advantage at the break.
“Kailey was a stud the whole game, getting to the boards, doing a terrific job defensively, helping against the press,” said Coderre. “So many kids played awfully well tonight. I’m really proud of them.”
The Sentinels got no closer than eight points to the Novans in the second half, and with 2:42 to play, Brayboy helped put the game away by nailing her fourth three-pointer and following that with a jumper from the free-throw line to make it a 49-34 contest.
The Villa Novans are back at home on Friday with a 7 p.m. game against division foe St. Raphael Academy. Before the game, the team plans to honor Dubois for becoming the fourth player in team history to score her 1,000th point. She reached the milestone last Wednesday night in a win on the road over North Providence High.
SMITHFIELD (37): Amber DeCristofaro 0 0-0 0, Shannon Donahue 1 0-0 3, Kiley Fair 2 3-4 7, Fallon Greene 3 0-2 6, Brianna Haberle 0 2-2 2, Ashley Lasalandra 4 0-0 8, Meghan Reall 3 5-7 11. Totals:
WOONSOCKET (57): Kailey Fugere 7 5-5 19, Allyson Cartier 0 0-0 0, Ashley Dubois 8 0-0 16, Caitlyn Marcoux 2 0-0 4, Michelle Brayboy 5 0-0 14, Amanda Sloan 1 0-0 2, Shade Olowookere 1 0-0 2. Totals: 19 3-5 44.
Halftime: Woonsocket, 29-20. Three-point field goals: Smithfield 1 (Donahue), Woonsocket 4 (Brayboy 4).