WINSLOW — Coaches will sometimes tell you that things like hustle never go into slumps. So after Winslow coach Lindsey Welch watched her team shoot 14 percent from the floor and 33 percent from the line in the first half, she and the Black Raiders still went to the locker room with a 10-point lead.
Winslow teetered a few times, but defense, hustle, and rebounding won the game for the Raiders. They outrebounded Waterville by 12 and held the Purple Panthers to seven field goals to take a 32-21 win in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B girls basketball game Friday night.
“We really emphasize defense, and we’ve been doing a great job with such a young group,” Welch said. “We’re finally understanding that we need defense right now. Our shots are going to fall. We’ll make sure that they will.”
Winslow (2-3) held Waterville without a point for nearly the game’s first seven minutes, and the aggressive Purple Panthers quickly found themselves in foul trouble. Midway through the second quarter, four Waterville starters had three fouls apiece. When star point guard Colleen O’Donnell picked up her third foul with 4:20 left in the half, Waterville coach Rob Rodrigue simply held up three fingers to remind O’Donnell of the situation, and kept her in the game.
Devin Fitzgibbons scored eight of her game-high 14 points in the first half, and Winslow led 15-5 at the break. Waterville (1-4) got as close as six points in each of the final two quarters. Freshman Fotini Santos ended up leading the Panthers with seven points, and Winslow’s Alyssa Wood had six of her 11 points in the fourth quarter to help the Raiders hold on.
Part of Winslow’s success came from neutralizing O’Donnell, who was coming off a 17-point, 17-rebound game against Maine Central Institute. Welch used Sarah Wildes, Delaney Wood, and Hayley Pottle to guard O’Donnell, rotating them every few minutes. O’Donnell finished with three points and five rebounds, and Winslow pulled away after she fouled out with Waterville trailing by eight points with 3:16 left.
“I always wanted to keep fresh legs on her,” Welch said. “She’s a great player, and we had to respect that.”
Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243