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WESTERLY — Chariho High’s Abby Cuddy doubled a double-double Saturday in the WCCU Holiday Basketball Tournament consolation game.
The 6-foot junior center averaged nearly a double-double last season as a sophomore with 10.3 points and 9.8 rebounds a game for the Chariho girls. She took her production to a new level with 22 points and 22 rebounds to lead the Chargers over Exeter-West Greenwich, 53-34.
For Chariho, it was the program’s first WCCU victory since winning the consolation game during the 2009-’10 season.
Chariho improved to 2-2 and dropped Exeter-West Greenwich to 0-4.
“Abby is capable of doing this,” Chariho coach Arianna Dolock said. “We did a better job getting her the ball inside in good spaces after she scored seven in the first half. We made to make getting her the ball inside a priority in the second half”
Sophomore point guard Katie Cuddy (five assists, 10 steals) did a nice job in the last 16 minutes finding the elder Cuddy for layups with bounce passes in the lane. Another way to get Abby Cuddy the ball is to simply shoot and watch her grab the rebound, which she did time after time to post a career high in rebounds.
Cuddy even grabbed a handful of her own misses underneath against Exeter-West Greenwich’s 6-1 sophomore center Jessica Brielmaier.
“I worked hard to get position and jump straight up, not going over the back of the other team’s frontcourt,” said Abby Cuddy, who committed just two fouls. “This type of game is a confidence builder for me and the team. We’re kind of a new team and are still getting used to playing with each other.”
Chariho scored the game’s first nine points against the rebuilding Scarlet Knights, who returned just one varsity player, guard Christine Harrington, from last year’s Division I-South champion and state runner-up.
Harrington (team-high 12 points) hit a five-foot runner with 9:08 left in the half that broke the goose egg for the Scarlet Knights.
The Chargers, though, could not capitalize on their strong defense and press in the first half, missing a number of interior shots, encountering their own ball-handling trouble and missing eight first-half free throws.
Exeter-West Greenwich battled back to take a 14-13 lead on Jill Sjogen’s jumper with five minutes left.
Abby Cuddy’s traditional three-point play off an offensive rebound with 2:41 left gave Chariho the lead for good, 16-14, en route to a 21-16 halftime lead.
Although Abby Cuddy’s rebounding and Katie Cuddy’s steals were the main factors behind Chariho pulling away from a 29-24 lead with nine minutes left to 40-28 with four minutes to play, the Chargers received contributions from other sources.
Freshman reserve guard Janessa Perry scored five straight points to up the lead to 34-26.
Sophomore forward Jamie Dobson (12 points) also provided valuable scoring.
The Chargers could have won more comfortably if not for hitting just nine of 23 free throws (39.1 percent).
But Dolock has few complaints heading into the new year.
“I’m very satisfied with my young team’s progress after four games, and it’s nice going into the divisional schedule off a win in the tournament, which is my first as head coach,” Dolock said. “This was a positive game also because we open Division I-South play against Exeter Friday.
“They have a new coach and nearly an entire new roster. Rarely do you see a roster chance as significant in one season. It’s tough to lose that many kids in one year, but they played very hard.”
The Scarlet Knights hope they don’t see double again 7 p.m. Friday at home against Cuddy on the backboards.
“This game hopefully will give us a preview of our division opener,” Cuddy said. “We should have confidence going into that game.”