PROVIDENCE — A year after reaching the finals, the Barrington High School girls’ basketball team will once again play for the Division I state championship after the Eagles upset No. 1-seeded and previously league unbeaten Bay View, 43-42, Tuesday night, March 18, in the second of two semifinal playoff games held at Rhode Island College’s Walsh Gymnasium.
A Maura Kelty free throw with less than a second remaining in the game after she was fouled on an inbounds play moments earlier provided the difference in the contest, which the Eagles led throughout only to fend off the Bengals in the final minute. The made free throw came on Kelty’s second attempt, having missed the first in the double-bonus situation.
Kelty, Barrington’s standout senior post player, led the Eagles with 13 points. Grecia Restituyo added 11 and Sarah Middleton nine while Kelly Thayer and Grace Coutu chipped in five apiece.
Raquel Pederzani netted a night-best 20 points for the Bengals, including seven in the final minute of the contest as Bay View frantically fought back.
Pederzani actually knotted the score at 42 with a 3-pointer and layup moments before Kelty was fouled. Dakota Grenier added eight and Francesca Corsinetti seven for the Bengals.
Barrington (17-3 in D-I) advances to the state title game Saturday, March 22, at the University of Rhode Island’s Ryan Center where the Eagles will face North Kingstown. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. The second-seeded Skippers (17-3) defeated third-seeded and defending champs LaSalle in Tuesday’s other semi, 52-49. N.K. ended the Rams’ three-year reign as champions. LaSalle battered Barrington a year ago in the title tilt, 62-29.
The Barrington-North Kingstown matchup is the first state championship meeting between two public schools since the Skippers defeated East Greenwich, 50-35, for the title at the end of the 2004-05 campaign. Either LaSalle or Bay View has played for the championship during the intermitting seasons.
The Bengals, who were seeking their second trip to the final in the last three years and their first title since 2006, saw their superb season came to a close with a 19-1 record in league games. As is so often the case in these situations, Bay View had beaten Barrington twice during the regular season (65-57 and 44-37), but found it difficult to get past the Eagles for a third time.
Barrington and North Kingstown played once during the winter, a 64-56 victory for the visiting Skippers back on January 24.
Bay View’s Pederzani nearly changed the Eagles’ fortunes in the last 60 seconds Tuesday.
Barrington’s Restituyo hit two free-throws to give the Eagles a 42-35 lead with 1:10 to go, but that’s when Pederzani went into action. She rolled the ball up the court and when an Eagle went in for the steal, the stealthy point guard quickly picked it off the floor, dribbled around her and hit a 3.
Barrington next missed two free throws, giving Pederzani a chance at some more heroics. This time, Bay View’s 5-foot-6 guard pulled down the rebound, dribbled the full length of the court past the Eagles’ defense and sank nifty layup to tie the score with six seconds left in the game.
The Eagles quickly attempted an inbounds the pass to Kelty, but instead of letting her dribble up the court, Bay View made a costly mistake and fouled.
Groans and cheers exploded from the large crowd as Kelty made her way to the free-throw line. The quiet gym exploded again as Bay View fans tried to shake the Eagles’ captain. After missing her first attempt, she blew out a deep breath when the throw clanged off the rim. Kelty, though, bounced the ball in front of her to collect herself then sank the shot that sends Barrington back to the finals.