Pacers shut down Newmarket
HINSDALE, N.H. >> After watching Paige Fowler shadow his star guard throughout the first half, Hinsdale varsity girls basketball coach Terry Bonnette decided to switch from a weave offense to a series of ball screens.
And the move paid off immediately.
Skyler LeClair scored 13 points in the third quarter, including three trifectas and a pair of layups, as the fifth-seeded Pacers ran away to a 42-29 victory over No. 12 Newmarket in a Division 4 playdown game on Tuesday evening at The Stable.
"Skyler's the key to our offense. It was great to see her get going in the third quarter," said Bonnette, who noted that opposing teams have used box-and-one defenses or else doubled LeClair whenever she had the ball this season.
The game remained scoreless for the first 4:30, as the teams missed a combined five shots from downtown and four free throw attempts. And the fans could only shake their heads as wild passes sailed out of bounds and players drove the lane out of control.
"I think we were a little bit nervous. We were throwing the ball around and not running our offense," stated the Hinsdale coach.
Trailing 2-0, the hosts would finish the opening quarter with a 9-2 run. Monika Costello had a pair of layups during the surge, while Jennifer Matuszewski, Gabby LeClair, and Skyler LeClair went a combined 5-of-6 from the charity stripe.
Aside from giving up treys to Jassmin Senesombath and Reagan Jordan, Hinsdale's 2-3 zone remained solid in the second quarter. Jaqueline Atkins dove after a loose ball, Kelsey Spindler took a charge, and the hosts got steals from Atkins, Matuszewski, Skyler LeClair and Costello.
"I thought our defense was very good," noted Bonnette.
At the other end, Fowler was all over Skyler LeClair — denying her the ball, chasing her through screens, staying in front of her when she was running the show.
Leading 18-12 at the intermission, the Hinsdale coach decided to make a change.
Using the new ball screen attack, Skyler LeClair would score 13 of the game's next 15 points. She knocked down three shots from beyond the arc and also made a couple of layups as the Pacers opened up a 31-14 advantage.
With the likes of former center Bridget Bourne, excited mom Julie LeClair and super fan Mikey Batts cheering her team on from the bleachers, Costello took over from there. She made three bunnies and a couple of freebies to make it 40-18 with six minutes remaining.
A couple of long-range makes by Jordan allowed Newmarket to cut into the margin.
Skyler LeClair and Costello paced the winners with 21 and 12 points respectively. Matuszewski finished with five points, while Gabby LeClair and Atkins added two points each.
The 14-5 Pacers will play at No. 4 Nute in Friday's quarterfinal at 7 p.m. In the other Division 4 matchups, Sunapee will welcome Woodsville, Colebrook will visit Littleton, and Epping will play at Lisbon.
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