Gabby McNally connected on 14 of 22 attempts from the free throw line for the Minerva/Newcomb Lady Mountaineers in the win against Keene Feb. 22.
The Minerva/Newcomb Lady Mountaineers have looked to push the ball and be aggressive every chance they get during the 2012/13 season.
On Feb. 22, they used their fast-paced style of play as the fifth seed to score a 46-37 win over the fourth seed Keene Beavers.
"It has always been our plan to be aggressive and attack," Mountaineers head coach Bruce McGinn said. "The execution of our press was important. We play three presses, and our 2-2-1 worked better in the second half."
The Mountaineers held the Beavers scoreless for almost nine minutes in the second half with their press and attacking style on offense, which led to Sadie Holbrook, Hannah McCabe and Tucker Geieger fouling out for Keene.
"We started off breaking the press but when we started to have problems with the press, it rattled the them," Keene head coach Brian LaVallee said of his team. "Sadie did her best to push the ball for us."
"The Keene girls played well, and our goal was to go at them high-speed," McGinn said.
LaVallee said that the pressure led to both players fouling out and turnovers on Keene's part.
"We had 24 turnovers and we had the second string playing for much of the second half because of foul trouble," he said. "I thought for that group, though, they held them pretty well."
Keene held a 15-6 lead after the first quarter and were ahead 21-10 before the Mountaineers cut the lead to 23-15 heading into halftime. With the score 29-24 Keene midway through the third period, the Mountaineers scored the next 18 points until Tucker Geieger followed in an offensive rebound with 3:35 in the final quarter for the Beavers, giving Minerva/Newcomb a 42-31 lead before closing the game out.
The Mountaineers were led by Makenzie Winslow, who scored 19 points to go with four rebounds and six steals.
"We had a good halftime talk and we really wanted to win this game because this group has never won a sectional game," Winslow said. "They were beating us to the ball in the first half, and we knew that we had to pick it up."
Gabby McNally added 16 points, 11 rebounds (seven offensive) and six steals. McNally was also clutch from the free throw line, connecting on 14 of 22 attempts.
"She has always done that for us from the line," McGinn said.
"I practice them a lot," McNally said. "Coach presses us to work on our foul shooting in practice and during our off time. I just work hard so I know when I get to the line I will have the confidence that I will make the shots."
Nicole Rubertone added seven points to go with 15 rebounds (seven offensive) and seven steals. Dakota Bennett scored four points with two rebounds and three steals, while Angela McCall had one point and two assists. Ashley Miller added an assist and steal with one rebound going to Danielle McNally.
For Keene, Tucker Geiger scored 16 points to go with 13 rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocked shots. Naomi Peduzzi scored six points along with 13 rebounds, two steals and six blocked shots; Taylor Geiger added six points; McCabe scored three points while grabbing eight rebounds; Susanne Ruud scored two points with seven rebounds; Holbrook finished with two points and two assists; while Rachelle Goff had two points and a steal.
"We have nothing to cry about with the season that we have had," LaVallee said.
The Mountaineers next face the Elizabethtown-Lewis Lady Lions, the top-ranked team in the Class D sectionals and seventh ranked team in the state. The game will be played at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26, at AuSable Valley High School.