Girls basketball

Kilties' Contreras sinks Huskies' championship dreams

Mt. Hope falls to Mt. Pleasant, 45-40, in D-III championship

Photos and story by Richard W. Dionne, Jr.
Posted 3/9/21

The Mt. Hope girls basketball team  lost a nail biter to  Mt. Pleasant, 45-42, in the Division III Championship at RIC  on Sunday afternoon.

The Huskies down  in the …

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Girls basketball

Kilties' Contreras sinks Huskies' championship dreams

Mt. Hope falls to Mt. Pleasant, 45-40, in D-III championship


The team consoled their lone senior captain, Isabel Savinon after the game as the Mt. Hope girls basketball team lost a nail biter to Mt. Pleasant, 45-40, in the Division III Championship at Rhode Island College on Sunday afternoon. The Huskies championship dreams were lost when Francheska Contreras put back a rebound with 6 seconds left to play in the game to give Mt. Pleasant a 45-40 lead. The win was the second D-III championship in a row for the Kilties. 

“Our energy was up, then we just lost it,” said Savinon. “I think why we got this far is because of our ability to pick each other up. My teammates have been phenomenal. My coaching staff phenomenal. I didn’t even think that we were going to have a basketball season. I’m grateful to even be here. To play in a championship game is so surreal.”

The Huskies down, 22-18, at halftime, valiantly came back in the third quarter to take a 33-26 lead. But Contreras scored 14 fourth-quarter points to help the Kilties catch Mt. Hope and win the championship.

“It’s disappointing,” said coach Caitlin Booth. “They really played their hearts out. We obviously wanted it to go the other way. But we are really proud of the girls. They busted their tail the whole game. You can’t ask for more than they gave.” 

First quarter woes

Mt. Hope played tentatively and shot poorly in the first quarter. The Kilties took advantage and raced out to a 14-4 lead. Contreras netted 5 of her game high, 19 points. 

The Huskies drought ended in the second quarter. Contreras got into foul trouble and was sent to the bench. Sophomore forward Lauren Pais got hot and the Huskies went on a 10-4 run to cut the lead to 22-18 at the half. Pais scored 6 of her 12 points in the second quarter. Elsa White netted 4 points, Abby Razzino and Reyn Ferris each scored two as the Huskies climbed back into the game. 

“We pulled ourselves out of that first quarter,” coach Katie Kline said. “We came back and took the lead. That’s really what got our team going.”

Huskies take the lead

Pais standing at the top of the key, took a pass from White, wheeled, and shot a jumper over Kilties forward Julissa Walmsley to slash the lead to, 20-22, on their first possession of the third quarter. The bucket began a Huskies 8-0 run as they took over the lead. 

Pais had Kilties forward, Jasmine Garcia, cornered and Razzino reached in and stole the ball. The Huskies point guard, struggled offensively, but played well defensively with 6 rebounds and 6 steals. 

Huskies sophomore forward Reyn Ferris tied the game, 22-22, with a jumper from the right post. White stole the ball off a Kilties inbound pass and drove in for an easy layup to give Mt. Hope a 24-22 lead. On the next Kilties inbound pass, White nabbed the ball again. This time opting for a jumper outside the paint to extend the lead to, 26-22, with 5:55 left in the quarter. 

The Kilties came right back and scored 4 straight points. A lay up by Amya Perry tied the game, 26-26, with 4:00 left in the third quarter.

Junior guard Laura Johnson-Hoffman began a Huskies 7-0 run with a jumper from the top of the key to give Mt. Hope a, 28-26, lead, with 3:09 to play in the quarter. Contreras brought her arm down on Aeryal Rodrigues as she attempted to drive the lane and collected her fourth foul. Rodrigues went to the foul line, Contreras went to the bench. The Huskies forward made one of two to stretch the lead, 29-26. Johnson-Hoffman drained two more jumpers to give Mt. Hope a 33-26 lead. Huskies forward Mia Padula high-fived the starters as they came off the court with the lead.

“Our players worked so hard this year,” Coach Kline said. “I really just feel for them. Mt. Pleasant had a great fourth quarter and were able to tie the game and eventually take the back the lead. It was a real tough loss.”

Fourth quarter lead changes

On the Kilties first possession another Perry layup narrowed the lead to 33-28. Walmsley snatched the ball from Pais near mid court, passed to Contreras who made an easy layup to cut the Huskies lead, 33-30. Perry made two free throws and further narrowed the lead to, 33-32. 

The Huskies shooting had dried up again. Savinon, Johnson-Hoffman took jumpers but they came up empty. Ferris fought for the rebound. The ball went out of bounds. Huskies ball. 

Coach Kline signaled in the play. Mt. Hope lined up on the left post. Razzino inbounded the ball to Ferris who was second in line, behind Pais. Ferris collected the pass and sank a quick jumper to extend the lead, 35-32, with 5:50 to play in the game.

“Coach Booth and Coach Kline do a phenomenal job,” said Savinon in an interview after the game. “They go through hours of film and make up these amazing plays. I think that has been a big part of our success this year.” 

The Kilties inbounded the ball and got it to Contreras. She out ran the Huskies down the court for a layup to cut the lead, 35-34.

The Huskies struggled offensively on their next possession. Contreras went up for a layup. Ferris fouled her. She made both free throws to give the Kilties a 36-35 lead, with 4:41 to play in the game. 

The Huskies defense held Mt. Pleasant on their next possession. Ferris snared the rebound and dished it to Razzino. She dribbled up slowly and found Savinon standing alone on the three point line. The senior launched a three and drained it to give Mt. Hope a 38-36 lead, with 3:53 left to play. 

“Isabel has been a leader all year on and off the court,” said Coach Booth. “She came up clutch with that three. She does it with such ease. I hoped that it would rally us through to the end. But it didn’t. We are going to miss having her on the team next year.”

Walmsley attempted a three. Razzino came down with the rebound and passed to Savinon who brought up the ball. Ferris and Savinon both attempted jumpers, but the ball failed to drop. 

Contreras tied the game, 38-38, with a jumper from the left post, with 2:15 to play. After a time out the sinewy guard sliced in from the right side for a right handed layup to give Mt. Pleasant a 40-38 lead, with 1:35 left to play. 

On two consecutive possessions, White was called for traveling, twice. 

“Those were tough calls,” said Coach Kline. “I don't like to blame the refs. In my eyes she put the ball down before she took the step.”

With 47 seconds left in the game, Contreras scored again. Ferris guarding the Mt. Hope hoop, pounced on a defensive rebound. The sophomore forward tried to pass the ball to out to Pais on the baseline, but Contreras snatched the pass and knocked down a jumper for a 42-38, Kelties lead.

Razzino found Pais at the top of the key and she drained a jumper to cut the lead to 42-40, with 23 seconds left. The Huskies attempted to induce a turnover, but settled for fouling guard Kelsey Hatch. Hatch made the first one, 43-40, but missed the second. The rebound fell into the hands of Contreras and she sank a layup with 6 seconds left, and the Huskies dreams of a championship. 

“I was hoping to take the W today,” said Savinon. “But win or lose I still love this team.”

“Three days into the season, the team was quarantined,” said Coach Kline. “We pulled out of that and were able to play the rest of the season.” 

“Doing any of this in a pandemic is crazy,” Coach Kline added. “But I’m so glad that we got to play. This season really succeeded any expectations that we had.”

Mt. Hope Scoring: Lauren Pais led the Huskies with 12 points, Elsa White netted 8, Laura Johnson-Hoffman scored 6, Reyn Ferris scored 6, Isabel Savinon scored 3, Areyal Rodrigues scored 3,  and Abby Razzino scored 2. 

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