HINSDALE, N.H. -- With his top-seeded team trailing 8-6 at the end of the first quarter, Hinsdale girls basketball coach Terry Bonnette was asking himself one question.
How could the hosts solve Epping’s suffocating, man-to-man defense?
Getting the ball to Allison Scott regularly turned out to be the answer. The junior guard scored a game-high 18 points, including eight in the pivotal second quarter, as the No. 1 Pacers rolled to a 46-14 victory over No. 16 Epping in the opening round of the Division 4 Tournament on Tuesday night at the Stable.
"Al had a good night. She shot well and did a nice job penetrating for us," said the Hinsdale coach, whose team improved to 19-0 with the victory. "It took us awhile to get going, in part because of their good, man defense. But then we started to figure it out."
Did they ever.
With Epping’s Carleigh Baer hounding floor general Skylar Bonnette, Scott simply took over in the second quarter. She drained a deep deuce from the right wing, scored along the baseline, delivered with a putback, and later blew by Oliviah Kimball for a bucket to help the hosts take a 16-10 advantage to the break.
And the jam-packed crowd would then see the defense they are used to, as the Pacers held the Blue Devils to just four points the rest of the way. Using their patented 2-1-2 zone, the hosts got second-half steals from Brianna Benjamin and Scott, along with glass dominance by Bridget Bourne and Roxy Toussaint.
"To hold them to just four points in the second half is pretty good. Our forte has kind of been our defense," noted the Hinsdale coach.
Hinsdale outscored the visitors 19-0 in the third quarter, with trifectas by Skylar Bonnette and Scott being the highlights. Bourne had three layups during the onslaught, including a pair of putbacks.
Coach Bonnette went to his bench in the fourth quarter, using reserve forwards Taylor Roberts, Keanna Winter and Taylor Coleman as his last line of defense. An offensive rebound by Coleman would allow for Skylar Bonnette’s triple and Roberts also crashed the glass for the unbeatens.
Scott (18 points), Skylar Bonnette (14) and Bourne (10) did the offensive damage for Hinsdale. Chloe Pelletier, a freshman guard, had a team-high six points for the Blue Devils.
It looked like Goliath was going to trounce David early on, when the hosts built a 6-0 lead behind a couple of hoops from Bourne. But Epping would end the first quarter with an 8-0 run, including a couple of bunnies by Sabrina Rivers.
With coach Bonnette trying to figure out how to solve Epping’s suffocating defense, his players found the answer. They got the rock to Scott often in the second quarter and she took over to give the hosts the lead for good.
The 19-0 Pacers will host No. 8 Woodsville on Friday night at 7 in the Division 4 quarterfinals. Woodsville walloped No. 9 Moltonborough 47-25 in Tuesday’s opening round contest.
The final scores in the rest of the bracket look like this: No. 2 Sunapee 56, No. 15 Lisbon 22; No. 3 Colebrook 75, No. 14 Nute 31; No. 4 Groveton 49, No. 13 Gorham 26; No. 5 Pittsfield 31, No. 12 Derryfield 18; No. 6 Newmarket 52, No. 11 Wilton-Lyndeborough 38; No. 7 Littleton 50, No. 10 Canaan-Pittsburg 18.
Shane Covey can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.