The Attleboro High girls' basketball team is developing a reputation for tough defense and strong finishes. On Friday, the Lady Bombardiers fell behind by as many as nine but they held the King Philip Lady Warriors to only 13 points in the second half and stormed back for a 40-35 victory.
Attleboro got within one in the fourth quarter on a great drive and finish by freshman Kerri Beland with just over two minutes remaining. The teams traded turnovers until the final minute when Emily Mayer grabbed a rebound in traffic and forced it towards the basket to draw the foul.
The senior captain stepped up with only six seconds remaining and knocked down both shots, after missing the front-end of a one-and-one just seconds earlier, to give Attleboro the 36-35 lead.
Abby Oliver stole the inbounds pass and was fouled. Attleboro were in the double bonus and the point guard made two free throws to give the Lady Bombardiers a three-point lead. King Philip's last chance was a full-court pass but it went directly out of bounds leading to two more Mayer free throws.
Coach Missy Traversi was ecstatic about how the team's defensive effort is paying dividends late in games. "I think over time our man-to-man is wearing on teams. A lot of teams like to switch it up but we're sticking with our man-to-man and just grinding it out and I think the physicality down the stretch outworked KP."
In the first half, King Philip's height advantage dominated the boards but the Lady Bombardiers were much more aggressive in the second half to prevent the Warriors from getting the ball inside. KP was led by Emily Richards' 12 points, but 10 came in the first half.
Coach Megan Barry pointed to inexperience for the lack of execution in the final moments. "We have a mix of seniors and a lot of young girls on the team and it's tough down the stretch to keep your composure."
Kirsten Terrien was the scoring star for the Lady Bombardiers. She finished with 15 points, including 10 in the second half as Attleboro made their run. Sophomore Brianna LaPlume finished with nine, seven in the second half, and Mayer had eight, six in the second half.
Even more than the victory itself, Traversi was proud of the team-first mentality that has developed in the squad. "Our team chemistry is fabulous right now. That's why I am smiling because right now I'm starting to feel more comfortable with the line-up I put out on the floor in close games like this. I feel really good right now."
The Lady Bombardiers (3-9) will host Dartmouth on Tuesday night, while the same night KP (4-10) will tavel to Stoughton.