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Orioles heating up

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Mascoma Valley on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Mascoma Valley on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant freshman Elizabeth Gonyea gets a free throw against Mascoma Valley on Friday night. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Mascoma Valley on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant’s Camri Aho goes up for two against Mascoma. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Mascoma Valley on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Mascoma Valley on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Mascoma Valley on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, January 08, 2018 6:5PM

It’s been so cold that even the walk from the car to the gym is enough to send shivers down your spine — let alone ice a shooter. But Conant freshman star Elizabeth Gonyea isn’t too concerned with New Hampshire’s run of sub-zero temperatures.

“In Alaska, it’s already this temperature in October,” Gonyea said. “It’s cold there.”

Gonyea and her family moved from Alaska to Rindge before this school year, and it’s clear they came to the right place. Gonyea is already acclimated to the Alaskan temperatures, and after choosing basketball over hockey at an early age, she’s right at home at the Pratt and making a difference for the Orioles.

“I think the biggest strength she has is her competitiveness,” said head coach Brian Troy. “She really gets after it in practice. She's such a positive kid and she keeps everyone competitive and she makes sure everyone wants to do the right things. She’s a great leader in that sense.”

Gonyea and the Conant girls came out a little rusty on Friday night as they hosted Mascoma Valley. With school canceled statewide during Thursday’s snowstorm, there was no opportunity to practice, and it showed. Both teams struggled to score early, playing to a 19-17 Conant lead at the half.

“We had turnovers,” Gonyea said. “We weren’t really collected as a team. I think that cost us in the run. We weren’t really getting back on defense. We just went into the locker room at halftime and turned it around.”

With renewed focus, Conant came out and turned a two-point lead into a twenty-pointer, eventually winning 46-26 after holding the Royals to just four second-half field goals.

“I thought they grinded it out in the second half and they really battled and took it to them,” Troy said.

Silas Bernier led the charge for Conant, putting together a cadre of dribble moves and strong takes to score 11 points, 10 in the second half. Camri Aho hit three threes and scored 11 as well, and center Mariah Chamberlain controlled the paint and scored another 11. Taylor Banish had seven points and Gonyea six.

“Two of the keys to the game,” Gonyea said, “are rebounding and transition defense, which we had lacked in the first half and we turned that around when we came out. I think that really helped, getting rebounds and pushing the ball.”

After a run to the title game in the Manchester Central holiday tournament (against all Division II teams) and a win to open the 2018 portion of their schedule, the Orioles are heating up. But they’ll have to catch fire to improve their potential playoff seeding. As of press time, Conant (5-3) was ninth in Division III. A handful of teams were dealt their first losses on Friday night, leaving just Monadnock as the lone undefeated in DIII, with five one-loss teams behind them.

Conant is back at it tonight at Stevens (2-2) at 7 p.m.