WINSLOW — Haley Ward isn’t a Winslow High School lifer. Originally enrolled at Cony, Ward arrived at Winslow two falls ago for the start of her junior year.

Coach Lindsey Withee and the Winslow girls basketball team were glad to have her on their side Tuesday night.

Ward came alive during the third quarter against Oceanside, scoring all but two of the team’s points for the quarter and helping the Black Raiders fend off a Mariners comeback and stay undefeated with a 49-39 victory.

“She’s been a great addition to this program, this community, and she does a great job of, when the time is right, she’ll step up and play,” Withee said. “She allows things to come to her, and when things aren’t developing, she goes out and gives 110 percent.”

Winslow overcame a rebounding disadvantage against the taller Mariners to improve to 6-0. Oceanside fell to 3-3.

“That’s a really good team,” Withee said. “We knew coming in it was going to be a battle, we scouted them ahead of time.”

The victory wasn’t a one-player show. Ward finished with 10 points but Paige Trask led the way with 12, and Sarah Guimond (seven) and Weslee Littlefield (six) chipped into the scoring load as well.

“We have great depth. I think that’s the main focus for our team,” Ward said. “Anybody any night can come out and score.”

It was Ward’s moment when her team needed it most. A hot start from the field allowed Winslow to build a 26-13 lead by the first two minutes of the second quarter, but Oceanside finished the half on a 10-4 run, then got a 3-pointer from Rachel Joyce on its first shot out of the intermission to cut the gap to 30-26.

With only two points at that moment, Ward took over. She scored eight of Winslow’s 10 points for the quarter, scoring baskets in transition and getting to the line to help the Black Raiders go into the fourth with a 40-30 lead. Oceanside scored the first two points of the fourth to cut the gap to six, but a jumper from Broghan Gagnon, free throws from Trask and another jumper from Sarah Guimond with three minutes to play put the game out of reach.

“Any given night, any one of us can come out and step up,” said Ward, who added a steal and three rebounds in the quarter. “Anybody, really. I felt my team needed me. This was my chance. I’ve got to score, we’ve got to get the ‘W.’ That’s all that matters.”

While Ward and the Black Raiders pulled away, Oceanside went cold with a chance to complete the rally, missing its next 10 shots from the field after opening the second half with the Joyce 3-pointer and failing to net its second field goal of the third quarter until two seconds remained in the period.

“When we brought it back within four we were playing good team basketball, passing the ball up and down the floor, then we let it go,” Oceanside coach Samantha Bragg said. “We decided ‘Oh, I can do it now. I’m on my own.’ When we went away from playing together, 5-on-5, we started to struggle.”

It was a hot performance from the field that allowed Winslow to take command to begin with. The Black Raiders hit from beyond the arc on three of their first four field goals, with Trask hitting two of the treys. Winslow hit another three and shot 7-for-15 in the first quarter, then hit two more threes in the second.

“They got off to a hot start and we didn’t, and then it was just sort of catch-up,” Bragg said. “When you dig yourself that hole early, then you have to come back and take over instead of playing even from the beginning.”

The shots stopped falling for both sides in the second half, but Winslow’s discipline on offense helped the lead grow even if the shots weren’t falling.

“Taking care of the basketball (was important),” Withee said. “Friday, we had 27 turnovers. Today we had seven. Big difference. Huge difference.”

It added up to the kind of win that, even for an undefeated team, can lift the players’ confidence.

“As time has gone on, we keep getting better and better,” Withee said. “By game 18, we want to almost be at our peak, not quite. A lot of good things, a lot of things we need to work on.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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