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Girls Basketball

Conant pushes toward playoffs with victory

Orioles beat Raymond Rams 52-34

  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.
  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.
  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.
  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.
  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.
  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.
  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.
  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.
  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.
  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.
  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.
  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.
  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.
  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.
  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.
  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.
  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.
  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.
  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.
  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.
  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.
  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.
  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.
  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.
  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.
  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.
  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.
  • The Conant girls basketball team beat Raymond 52-34 on Friday, Feb. 7.

As the regular season winds down, every game is a big one for the Conant girls basketball team. Heading into Friday night, the Orioles were sitting at 6-8, just outside the cutoff for the DIII playoffs. They had a big chance to leapfrog up the standings as they took on the 6-5 Raymond Rams, and they took advantage of that opportunity from the opening tip.

Raymond does not have much height on its roster, and Conant’s frontcourt duo of Heather Bilodeau and Sarah Gonsalves were unfazed by anything and everything the Rams threw at them. Gonsalves topped all scorers with 25 points, and controlled the glass on both ends of the court.

Raymond seemed content to launch shots from the perimeter, regardless of the results, and as the Rams kept missing, Conant feasted on the long rebounds. Meanwhile, the Orioles had no trouble shooting the three-ball; Katie Chadbourne added 15 points for Conant on three three-pointers. Conant pulled away in the second half and ended up with a 52-34 win.

Junior Brooke Juntunen contributed valuable minutes off the bench in the role of the sixth man, stepping in and doing the little things that don’t always show up in the box score. Juntunen only scored two points on the night, but she was active on the glass and getting into the passing lanes to disrupt the Raymond offense. It’s a role that head coach Dan Rosenfield said Juntunen’s been filling perfectly all season long.

“She has a quiet confidence,” Rosenfield said. “This is a kid who, we give her a lot of bologna, but she never gets too high, she never gets too low. She goes out every night and is ready to come off of the bench and is really strong off the bench for us. She goes out there and gives us a push and she does some of everything. She goes in and has an immediate impact.”

Juntunen said her job as a role player doesn’t affect how she approaches the game.

“I just play like I started,” Juntunen said. “I just go in and do my thing. I try to work with [my teammates] to help them do what they need to do, and we all work together.”

Conant’s win put the Orioles in position for the last playoff spot with only three games remaining: at Mascenic tonight at 5:30 p.m., and then home against Stevens and Fall Mountain. Rosenfield said he thinks his team is capable of winning them all, which would ensure the Orioles a playoff spot. And Juntunen, with her quiet confidence, knows that the key to Conant’s success is to keep it simple, no matter how important the games might be.

“It’s just a regular game to us,” Juntunen said. “We play as hard as we can and we just try to do the best we can every game.”

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