Broncos hold on to top Pats

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The Pilgrim girls basketball team dropped a tough 39-33 decision to Burrillville on the road last week.

The Pats and Broncos entered the game in the hunt for the top seed in the postseason, and the two clubs played like powerhouses as the game came down to the final minutes.

Burrillville held a 30-29 lead with under five minutes remaining, and would hit seven free throws down the stretch to piece together a 9-4 run and wrap up the win.

Between the late foul calls as well as some more in the first half, the Broncos scored 20 of their points at the line. Those points, along with some of the Pats’ top options getting into early foul trouble, hurt Pilgrim in the second half.

“Our girls have to move their feet. The refs were calling everything, we were in a bind with some early foul trouble, then we had to sit our two highest scorers for the better part of the second half so that really hurt,” said Pilgrim coach Scott Bayha. “We weren’t hitting our foul shots in the second half, I think they were a little tired. The last time we had a loss we came back even stronger and we need that again.”

The Pats jumped out to a 15-9 lead in the first half, but the Broncos would go on a 9-4 run in the final minutes to cut the Pilgrim lead to 19-18 at the break. Neither club led by more than four points in the second half until the final minute, when Burrillville hit four-straight free throws to extend its lead to 39-33 and close out the win.

Sara Langevin led the Pats with eight points while Nadine Ongi added seven and Hannah French six. Alyssa Simpson led the Broncos with a game-high 16 points.

The Pats struggled at the line, finishing the day going 5-for-18 in free throws.

“We didn’t hit our foul shots and we didn’t get many turnovers in our press,” said Bayha. “We try to wear teams out, we try to beat teams with our depth and use a lot of girls, but (Burrillville) played it very well and subbed pretty fluently too. That hurt. They packed it in on defense so we went foul line low in the first half which worked but we got away from it a bit, they pressed us non-stop which put us in a funk offensively. We had a few silly turnovers trying to break it.”

Pilgrim dropped to 12-2 with the loss, but is still in the hunt for a first-round bye. Pilgrim faced Central Falls on Monday, but results were not available at press time.

“This is a tough loss because you don’t want to start losing these games at the end of the season ... this one hurt. We scouted these guys pretty good so we had their inbounds pegged, we held (Kendall Bousquet) to (seven) points. Once Nadine got into foul trouble we struggled to rebound, we have Franny coming back from injury so we’re also a center short, we have some work to do,” said Bayha.

Confidence will be key for the Pats, according to Bayha.

“We say, ‘If you think you can win you can’t, if you think you can’t then you’re right.’ We just need to play with confidence, believe in ourselves,” said Bayha. “We’re in the playoffs but we need to try to win out because having a first round bye will be huge for us.”

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