CRANSTON — A combination of poor Westerly free-throw shooting and hot Cranston East 3-point accuracy in the second half made the Bulldogs work hard to escape with a 46-44 Division I girls’ basketball crossover victory Monday over the winless Thunderbolts.Westerly (2-4, 1-1 Division I South) held a 29-14 halftime lead and looked to be in cruise control against Cranston East, despite the fact the Bulldogs played most of the game without top scorer Maddy McLaughlin, who was injured in the game’s first three minutes.Westerly coach Holly Misto did not disclose the injury but said McLaughlin could not continue playing after scoring six points early. Misto said she did not think the injury would cause McLaughlin to miss extended time.“Maddy going out took our best ball-handler away,” Misto said. “Then you add the fact we were hurt by making just six of 22 free throws, plus Cranston worked very hard and started hitting 3s (six). Cranston has struggled of late, but they hung tough and believed in themselves. We made good decisions with the ball, but we missed a lot of layups and too many free throws.”Cranston East (0-5, 0-2 Division I Central) battled back to lead by four with three minutes to play behind the scoring of Molly Phillips (18 points). Westerly’s Megan Lacey made two steals, the second leading to a game-tying layup. With a minute to play, Emily Sullivan hit the go-ahead jumper.AlyssaValentini scored 11 points to lead Westerly and added five steals. Julianna Morrone scored 10 points, grabbed six rebounds and made five steals. Izzy Carey added eight points and a team-high seven rebounds. Sullivan led Westerly with four assists.The Bulldogs play home 5 p.m. today against Ponaganset.