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Conant girls fall short in semifinals

  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.
    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.
    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.
    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.
    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.
    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.
    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.
    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.
    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.
    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.
    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.
    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.
    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.
    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.
    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.
    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.
    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.
    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.
    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The No. 1 Conant girls basketball team lost 46-31 to No. 4 White Mountains in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

What made the Conant girls basketball team so successful this year were all the little things.

With just eight players in the program, the Orioles depended on contributions from everyone this season and it led to a spot in Thursday’s Division III semifinals. Conant was the No. 1 seed in D-III tournament after a 17-1 regular season record, beating out eventual champion Bow by one point for the top ranking.

The Orioles survived a scare in the prelims after drawing Monadnock for a third time this season. In the quarterfinals against Newfound, they built up a double-digit lead in the first half and maintained it over the final two quarters to advance to the Final Four.

While Conant had played in two of the last three D-III championship games, only seniors Teresa DiTommaso and Margaret Maloy were there for the experience. With two freshmen and three sophomores, the Orioles are young. Their semifinal opponent, No. 4 White Mountains, the defending champs with four returning seniors, were not. And the experience factor played a big part in Thursday’s 46-31 loss that ended the Orioles’ season.

“They are an experienced team,” said Hill. “Four of those girls played on a state championship team last year and they played big minutes.”

The Spartans, who had 10 threes in their quarterfinals win, had another hot shooting night from outside, hitting 7-of-13 and a perfect 4-for-4 in the second half.

“We prepared for that. We knew that they were going to shoot threes and we contested a lot of them,” said DiTommaso. “But they were hitting everything.”

And all those little things just didn’t come on Thursday night. Only freshman Madison Springfield and DiTommaso scored. Springfield finished with a game-high 20 points on 7-of-17 shooting with 12 rebounds — both game highs. DiTommaso scored eight of her 11 in the second half and had six rebounds in her final game for Conant. It was just not enough to beat the Spartans. Conant entered the game averaging 48.2 points, but the 31 in Thursday’s semifinal was a season-low.

“We haven’t scored 31 points all season and to only have two girls score,” said Hill. “We just didn’t play Conant basketball.”

Springfield scored all six of the Orioles’ first-quarter points, as they trailed by just two. A 7-0 second quarter Spartan run pushed the deficit to nine and Conant just couldn’t come all the way back.

“We were well prepared for them, but they were the better team tonight. We just didn’t play our game the way we should have,” said DiTommaso.

Conant cut it to four with about three minutes left in the half, but White Mountains scored the final five points to push its lead to 22-13. The Spartans hit all four of their second half threes in the third, including a long buzzer-beater, and outscored Conant 16-8 for a 38-21 lead. The Orioles did not get any closer than 15 the rest of the way.

“They played harder than us and we didn’t want it as much as they did,” said Springfield. “It’s definitely a heart break. We all wanted the state championship.”

Conant shot just 11-for-36 for the game and 1-for-10 from three. Besides Springfield and DiTommaso, the other six Conant players were 0-for-13.

“We were running our offense four or five steps behind the three-point line and that’s just not us,” said Hill. “We just didn’t play well. We were timid and it was from the get-go.”

White Mountains, who scored just 17 points in Saturday’s Division III championship game loss to Bow, was 13-for-31 overall, but hit 7-of-12 in the second half.

“Everything they threw up was going in and we couldn’t really do much about it,” said Springfield.

The Spartans had three in double figures led by senior Payton Curtis and junior Katie Wood, who each had 12, and senior Chelsea Payer with 11.

Conant began the year with nine straight wins, including a 10-point victory over fellow semifinalist Bishop Brady, before a three-point setback at Bow on Jan. 18. The Orioles responded with eight straight wins to finish with a 17-1 mark and the first No. 1 seed in Hill’s eight-year tenure.

The Orioles were 19-2 overall and their two losses came against the D-III finalists.

“We have nothing to be ashamed of. We were 19-2 and we only have eight girls in the program, Nobody else has that,” said Hill.

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