SMITHFIELD — Prior to facing Davies Tech in a Red Division tilt of the 26th annual Rhode Island Board of Girls Basketball Officials/Smithfield Boosters Club Holiday Classic on Wednesday afternoon, Burrillville High head coach Lindsay Rachlow asked her players to work on what she deemed a few weaknesses.
They included more attention to finding the open girl and rebounding.
She saw some improvements in both as the Broncos crushed the Patriots, 54-23, at Smithfield High’s gymnasium, the long-term site of the event.
Amazingly, not one of her girls notched double-figure outings, but that informational tidbit dictates the kind of spread offense Rachlow wanted to see.
Junior center Tori Libby and sophomore guard Lauren LaMontagne each finished with a team-high nine points, while sophomore Samantha Liberty posted eight and senior tri-captains Alyssa Lemire and had seven and Emma Lapierre six, respectively.
Lapierre chipped in another five boards, three blocks and a trio of steals; fellow tri-captain/point guard Danielle Dumais five points, four rebounds and two thefts; Lemire five boards; and Liberty three steals for Burrillville, which moved to 4-1 overall after suffering a 41-38 Division II-North-opening loss at Mount St. Charles last week.
“We had been having problems running our plays offensively; we’d go with one or two passes and then put up a shot,” Rachlow stated afterward. “In this game, we worked it with six-seven passes and spent more time looing for the open shot.
“We also did a better job of rebounding,” she added. “We did OK, not super, but I was happy. We’re taking steps in the right direction … I was pleased with the kids’ aggressiveness. They played with a little more authority than in the past, and I thought we talked well on defense. We ran the floor well, as we had a lot of fast-break opportunities.
“We were better (Wednesday) at the free-throw line (nine of 17); we had been less than 50 percent in our II-North games, and that will hurt us unless we see some improvement.”
As for Davies, which fell to 2-2 overall, it closed with 26 turnovers and 16 personal fouls. One of the reasons why: Senior tri-captain and guard Rosaliz Torres missed the contest due to a job obligation. Still, junior tri-captain Waleska led all Patriots with eight points, while fellow senior tri-captain Kaitlin Flynn recorded six and freshman guard Layra Sylvestre six.
Davies, a Division III representative, led only once, that after Flynn nailed a trey just 1:21 into the contest to take a 3-2 lead. Libby dropped a free throw 46 seconds later to knot it, and the Broncos used Lapierre’s putback at 12:49 to spark a 14-2 flurry over the next 4:31.
Highlights included Libby’s short one-hander, Lapierre’s turnaround jumper (off Davies’ seventh miscue) and Dumais’s short bucket with 8:18 left, one that gave Burrillville (which plays a league up in II-North) a 17-5 cushion.
Immediately, the Pats manufactured a run of its own, scoring six straight points in only 1:37. Mentor Joe Handy’s bunch sandwiched a pair of Sylvestre fast-break layups around sophomore Joneilly Alicia’s 12-footer.
With 6:03 left, Davies trailed 17-11.
Kelly’s baseline hook made it 18-13 with 5:07 remaining, but the Broncos surged again, posting a 14-0 run the rest of the way, and Liberty netted a half-dozen straight points, first on two freebies, then a pair of long jumpers, all in 68 seconds.
Libby’s spinning layup with 52 ticks left and freshman Mikaela Messier’s bucket at the buzzer pushed Burrillville in front, 32-13.
Rachlow’s crew continued to put pressure on the Pats, assembling a 6-0 surge over the first minute of the final stanza. When Kelly turned a steal into a layin with 13:09 left, she cut the lead to 38-15, but Burrillville outscored Davies, 16-8, over the final 11 minutes to triumph.
“We just wanted to go out there and have a good showing,” Handy admitted later. “I didn’t know what they had, but I thought (the foes) were very organized. I know they’ve beaten some decent teams … Rosaliz was out, and this is Waleska’s first game back since suffering a concussion against Middletown on Dec. 11.
“Defense is usually one of our strengths, and we wanted to outrebound them, but they we were taller,” he continued. “I wasn’t disappointed with our aggressiveness on the boards, but I was upset with the offense because of the turnovers; we weren’t patient enough. I don’t think we ran a full set (multiple offensive passes) all day.
“We’re still taking baby steps. We’ve got a rebuilding program, as we have had only one returning starter in the lineup for most of the early season. Still, I’m happy with the number of sign-ups we had. For the first time in a lot of years, we can field a JV team, because we had 24 show up. Last year, we were only at 11. I’m pleased, and it’s because they’re so eager to learn.”