When the Narragansett and East Greenwich girls basketball teams played one week ago the stakes were high.
Now, they’re even higher.
Last Thursday the Mariners handed the Avengers an eight point loss to win the Division II-South regular season title.
Tuesday in the preliminary round of the Division II Tournament No. 2 ’Gansett topped No. 15 Mt. Hope 55-44, while No. 7 EG bested No. 10 North Providence 54-44 to advance to the next round.
The two teams will now faceoff Sunday at 12 p.m. with the winner moving on to the semifinals and the loser going home for the season.
“It will be a battle, there’s no question about that,” Narragansett coach Kathryn Mahoney said by phone Wednesday morning. “Clearly they’re going to come out with a vengeance after last Thursday’s game.
“Playoffs are totally different so you have to go in expecting to battle every single team.”
MARINERS, from 1
The key to the Mariners’ win the last time the two teams got together was stopping junior Hannah Anderson – who scored 23 points in the first half but was shut out in the second – and it will undoubtedly be critical in Sunday’s game.
“We need to do a better job of that,” Mahoney said. “We didn’t do a great job of stopping her from scoring [in the first half] but once we realize that she was a huge scoring threat we shut her down. It’s going to be a matter of taking care of business all together.”
If the Mariners are going to once again keep the Avengers at bay then they are going to have to play like they did in the final 36 minutes of Tuesday’s game against Mt. Hope.
According to Mahoney her team had a slow start – which has plagued the Mariners at times this season – but soon after started hitting their stride.
’Gansett opened up a 31-17 lead by halftime and managed to keep the Huskies at arm’s length for the remainder of the game.
“[The lead was] comfortable [in the second half] but not enough in my opinion where you breathed a sigh of relief,” Mahoney said. “It was still close enough where you didn’t want to get too comfortable and back off.”
Senior Maggie Salomone scored a game-high 21 points for the Mariners, sophomore Abby McKanna added 14 points and sophomore Chelsea Sahagian rounded out the double-digit scorers with 11.