WESTERLY — Sometimes, the intermission at halftime can do wonders for a team.
Such was the case for Westerly High on Thursday night.
Trailing by eight points after the first half, Westerly dominated the final 16 minutes against Chariho High to post a 52-38 victory in the girls consolation game of the 34th annual WCCU Holiday Basketball Tournament at Federico Gym.
The Bulldogs outscored the Chargers 36-14 in the second half and closed the game with a 15-4 run. Megan Albamonti scored 15 of her game-high 19 points in the second half for Westerly (4-3), and Chariho (4-3) was forced into 17 turnovers in the second period alone.
“We started putting the ball in the basket, and that adds pressure to them to keep scoring,” Westerly coach Sue Haik said. “And our defense stepped it up. In the first half we didn’t have that.”
In the final three minutes, the Chargers didn’t have a field goal attempt until about 50 seconds remained.
“We turned the ball over; we didn’t play with confidence,” Chariho coach Tom Gilligan said. “Westerly stepped it up. They played better [in the second half]. And we were prepared for that. We talked about it at halftime, and I even used a couple timeouts early in the second half to try and snap us out of it. We just didn’t play as aggressively in the second half. Westerly, to their credit, they stepped up and took advantage of that.”
Down 24-16 at halftime, the Bulldogs took the lead, 32-30, on a Lauren Dobson 3-pointer with about nine minutes left. They never trailed again.
Isis Hamelin scored eight of her 12 points in the second half, Dobson scored all six of hers in the second period and Carreiro finished with 11. Albamonti had 10 rebounds and four steals to go with her 19 points.
Haik used a full-court press in the first half, with two players fronting Chariho freshman point guard Spencer Shiels on any out-of-bounds play. In the second half, Westerly dropped back into a zone that “does odd things with the wings when needed.”
One other thing: The Bulldogs started making some shots.
Haik credited the turnaround to a better focus.
“We told them at halftime, we just got to step it up, play, and not worry about what’s being called and not being called [by the referees], and to finish at the rim,” she said.
“We like to run and go and go, but when you get the ball in your hands, you’ve got to settle and get your shot at a pace that — you’ve got to be more efficient.”
Shiels, hounded by Carreiro for much of the game, was held to two points in the first half and finished with nine (she came in averaging 14.2 per game).
The Chargers’ two standout forwards, Kate Powers and Sydney Davis, were non-factors in the second half. Powers, who was hurt by foul trouble, scored 12 of her 15 points in the first period. Davis finished with 10 points and six rebounds.