Basketball: Conant girls knock off undefeated DII Bishop Brady in barnburner

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Bishop Brady on Monday, Feb. 16, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Bishop Brady on Monday, Feb. 16, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Bishop Brady on Monday, Feb. 16, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Bishop Brady on Monday, Feb. 16, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Bishop Brady on Monday, Feb. 16, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Bishop Brady on Monday, Feb. 16, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Bishop Brady on Monday, Feb. 16, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Bishop Brady on Monday, Feb. 16, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Bishop Brady on Monday, Feb. 16, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Bishop Brady on Monday, Feb. 16, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Bishop Brady on Monday, Feb. 16, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Bishop Brady on Monday, Feb. 16, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Bishop Brady on Monday, Feb. 16, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Bishop Brady on Monday, Feb. 16, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Bishop Brady on Monday, Feb. 16, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Bishop Brady on Monday, Feb. 16, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Bishop Brady on Monday, Feb. 16, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Bishop Brady on Monday, Feb. 16, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 2/16/2021 8:11:56 AM

Monday night added another win to Conant’s already-impressive resume, as the Orioles beat Division II powerhouse Bishop Brady to extend their winning streak to 31 games.

The Giants came to Jaffrey on a win streak of their own, having won 10 straight since losing in last year’s semifinals. With aggressive senior point guard and potential DII Player of the Year Ami Rivera surrounded by shooters who don’t hesitate to launch from NBA range, Brady showed the defending DIII champs a level of intensity they hadn’t seen yet this season, despite their wins over teams from all four NHIAA divisions.

Brady started pushing the pace from the opening whistle, using their five-guard lineup to fast-break at any opportunity. And when they weren’t running, they were shooting from deep; Rivera knocked down three heavily contested threes and a stepback two in the first quarter to put Brady up 22-15 after one.

“[Rivera] is not a thousand-point scorer for nothing,” Conant head coach Brian Troy said. “She’s a tough matchup and when she’s hot like that, there’s not much you can do. All you can really do is just try and hope that every shot she takes is contested.”

Rivera would finish with 23 points to lead the Giants.

Conant slid into a 3-2 zone in the second quarter to stymie Brady’s outside shooting and then started doing some work on the offensive end to cut into the lead. Senior Elizabeth Gonyea (25 points, 8-8 FT) dazzled the senior night crowd, weaving in and out of Brady double-teams with behind-the-back dribbles and taking the game over like a Player of the Year should.

“She’s really grown, you know, from her freshman year, every single year, she’s taken a step forward,” Troy said. “Her leadership has definitely grown over the years and she’s really taken on that responsibility. I’m very, very happy and proud of what she’s able to do. She’s the leader of this team and you kind of go the way she goes. She’s obviously been a key piece to what we do at Conant.”

Brynn Rautiola (14 points) kept fearlessly throwing herself at the rim, Mylie Aho added a pair of free throws, and the Orioles made a few  dump-offs to Emma Tenters down low – pair that with a couple defensive stops, and all of a sudden it was a one-possession game.

Bella Hayes came off the bench and hit a corner three to give Conant their first lead just before the half; Rivera hit another three to put Brady back up before Gonyea hopped through the lane with a eurostep and tied the game at 38-38 going into the half.

“We knew how quick they are up the floor and how good of a shooting team they were,” Troy said. “And even, even with the scout, they were still able to hit some tough shots, and they came out very confident. We just had to weather the storm. I thought we did a good job. I told the girls, ‘Hey, it’s a tie game. And they’re hotter than a pistol. And it’s still a tie game.’”

In the second half, Conant began exploiting Brady’s one glaring weakness – their lack of size. The Orioles fed Tenters in the paint, and the center responded, scoring 13 of her 22 in the second half.

“We’ve got no size, so I start five guards,” said Bishop Brady head coach Sal Alosa. “And my first one off the bench is a guard, so I got six guards. That’s the way I play. We didn’t do a few things defensively that we’ve practiced that we should have done.”

Conant extended their lead to as much as 12 points before Brady cut it back down again, as Isabella Rivera (13 points) and Halle Laramie (13 points, three three-pointers) made some fourth-quarter hoops, but all the Orioles had to do to stay ahead was hit their free throws, and they went 6-6 in the fourth quarter to ice the win, 72-61. Brady’s 61 was the most points Conant had given up in a regular season or NHIAA tournament game in Troy’s five years at Conant.

“They shut our run down,” Alosa said, “which was a big plus to them because if they didn't, it could have been a 75-72 game in one way or the other. They're a very good team. Well-coached.”

Conant alum and two-time champion point guard Silas Bernier was in attendance, and she liked what she saw from her Orioles Monday night as they ready for another postseason run.

“They’ve got the same grit, they’ve got the same determination,” Bernier said. “They’ll come out performing at the top.”

Conant (9-0) is set to host Hinsdale Wednesday night and then travel to Hinsdale for a rematch Friday.

 

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Conant 54, Bishop Brady 32

The Orioles spread the ball around and beat coach Eric Saucier’s alma mater with a balanced attack Monday night. 

Colson Seppala was the only Conant player in double figures, scoring 11; Manny Hodgson, Malique Motuzas and Garrett Somero had nine each, and Jacson Cross scored seven. 

Conant (7-2) is scheduled to play at Hinsdale Wednesday and host them Friday.




Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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