Basketball: Conant girls win 24th straight game

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Hinsdale on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Hinsdale on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant’s Mylie Aho goes for a shot in the post as Hinsdale’s Angelina Nardolillo defends during Thursday’s game at the Pratt. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Hinsdale on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Hinsdale on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Hinsdale on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Hinsdale on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Hinsdale on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Hinsdale on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Hinsdale on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Hinsdale on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Hinsdale on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Hinsdale on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Hinsdale on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Hinsdale on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant’s Kendall Chamberlain watches her three swish home against Hinsdale. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • The Conant girls' basketball team hosted Hinsdale on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 1/22/2021 11:02:43 AM

The Conant girls unfurled their 2020 undefeated Division III championship banner Thursday night in front of a crowd of nearly two dozen family members – not the packed-gym standing ovation one might have expected when the Orioles were hoisting their eighth championship trophy back in March, but a welcome moment nonetheless.

“Just being able to play basketball and being able to be on this floor again was awesome,” said head coach Brian Troy. “Being able to have a championship ceremony was good for the girls and good for everyone to see.”

The Orioles started their home campaign Thursday against Hinsdale, the tough Division IV team that Conant dispatched with relative ease in their season opener on the road Tuesday. The Pacers are at their best when they’re working through 6’0” senior center Angelina Nardolillo, who had a team-high 18 on Tuesday, so Conant focused on slowing her down.

“It was definitely a challenge,” said Conant sophomore center Emma Tenters, who drew the Nardolillo matchup for most of the game. “Last game, I gave up more points to her than I wanted. I knew I had help so I just tried to stay in front the best I could. … I knew my teammates would be out on the shooting, so just trying not to let her get to the hoop was basically what I was doing.”

Tenters stayed straight up on Nardolillo and made every field goal attempt a tough one; between Tenters and her double-teaming teammates, the Pacer star was held to 16 points on four two-pointers, a stepback three, and 5-7 shooting from the free throw line.

“She’s an impressive player,” Troy said. “Even with us doubling her, and our defense focused on her, she can still manage to get 16, 18 points – that tells you right there she’s a good player.”

Meanwhile, sophomore guard Brynn Rautiola worked to harass Hinsdale point guard Delaney Wilcox as she brought the ball up the court.

“We wanted to make sure we pressured them all over the court, make them uncomfortable, wear them out a little bit,” Troy said.

The Orioles got off to a sluggish start, but once they got in rhythm, they were cruising. Senior and Division III Player of the Year Elizabeth Gonyea (17 points, eight rebounds) pushed the pace, junior Teagan Kirby double-doubled with 12 points and 13 rebounds, and both Tenters and Mylie Aho (six rebounds) were able to catch the ball inside and then work it back out to the open shooters.

“They took a lot things away inside today, but the inside-out game was working well, kicking it to our shooters,” Tenters said.

Gonyea hit four threes, Kendall Chamberlain added a pair, and Rautiola scorched the net for six three-pointers of her own to finish with a team-high 22 points and five rebounds. The scrappy guard made it happen for the Orioles with extra effort, personified at the end of the first half when she missed a three with seconds remaining, chased down the long rebound and then got up a buzzer-beater that was deep and good.

“Brynn was lights out,” Troy said. “She hit some big shots in the first half to keep us in it. It’s a tough assignment for her to smother that girl and hit shots on the other end. For her to be able to do it on both ends of the floor is awesome.”

When the Oriole offense is clicking, it’s as good as any you’ll see, and it was looking smooth Thursday night; one second-half sequence saw Kirby feed guard Regan Despres in the post and then Despres drop it off to Tenters, the family members-only crowd erupting exponentially with each move.

“I think that’s the best thing to see as a coach,” Troy said, “when you see players making the simple read, finding the open man, we don’t care who scores, and we have good shooters and good inside play. It’s a tough team to stop when everybody’s sharing the ball and moving it with pace, it’s just fun to watch when they’re playing that way. It’s exciting.”

Conant pulled away and won the game 64-37.

Despite all the buckets, the blowouts and the banners, the Oriole girls know this journey is just beginning.

“We just need to keep working,” Tenters said. “Nothing’s given to us. We’ve won our past two games but that doesn’t mean anything. We just need to keep working, work hard in practice.”

The Orioles continued their title defense Friday night on the road against Division II Hollis-Brookline and won it at the buzzer, 48-47, with a last-second shot by Regan Despres putting Conant over the top.

“I was so happy for Regan,” Troy said. “She’s always grinding, always doing what she’s asked.”

The Orioles were down seven points with under two minutes remaining before Conant took matters into their own hands.

“We were able to trap them a little bit and we were able to get some turnovers,” Troy said.

Tenters had a team-high 16 points; Gonyea added 13; Rautiola had nine and Aho added eight.

Elisabeth Stapelfeld had a game-high 19 points for Hollis-Brookline.

Conant (3-0) will look to continue their 24-game win streak with a game at Monadnock Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Conant 58, Hinsdale 41

The Orioles are now 4-0 – albeit against all Division IV opponents – after beating Hinsdale for a second time this week on Thursday. 

Senior Hayden Ketola had a team-high 14 points and five rebounds; senior Colson Seppala had 12 points; Garret Somero added 10 and Jacson Cross had eight rebounds.

Conant hosts a much-anticipated matchup with Monadnock on Wednesday. 

 

Mascenic 52,
Wilton-Lyndeborough 23

Blaine Krook had a game-high 16 points with four three-pointers as the Vikings dispatched the Warriors Friday for the second time in a week. Dylan Barthel added eight points and Gabe Turner had six.

The two teams square off another two times this week, starting with Tuesday night in Wilton.

ALPINE SKIING

ConVal skiers take runner-up spots

Both the ConVal boys’ and girls’ alpine ski teams took second place at their season-opening races at Crotched Mountain Thursday. 

Molly Dishong won the girls’ race in a combined 1:00.95, a good two seconds ahead of her closest competitor, Souhegan’s Lyla Kimball. Sister Ella Dishong finished sixth in 1:07.59 and Jennifer Hopkins also cracked the top 10 with a 10th-place finish in 1:08.17.

Also finishing for ConVal were Laramie Wilson (19th, 1:17.13); Lydia Cleveland (20th, 1:17.53); Eva McCullough (23rd, 1:23.91); Eliza Harris (24th, 1:26.04); Lilly Heck (27th, 1:28.09) and Caitlin Beal (37th, 3:09.66).

Souhegan won the team race.

Reid Wilson led the ConVal boys with a seventh-place finish in 1:02.11. Carter Rousseau also made the top 10, finishing 10th in 1:06.22.

Also finishing for ConVal were David Martin (11th, 1:08.65); Owen Kotula (13th, 1:13.37); Bennett Saxe (15th, 1:14.63); Fletcher Maggs (16th, 1:14.70); Jake Alonso (22nd, 1:19.14), David Mackay (25th, 1:20.97), and Trent Stafford (26th, 1:23.13).

Wilton-Lyndeborough’s Nathan Browne finished 12th overall in 1:13.32.

Hollis-Brookline won the boys’ race, and the Cavaliers’ Justin Colby was first overall in 58.62.




Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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