Stonington Borough, CT
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PROVIDENCE — Westerly High gave No. 2 seeded North Kingstown a battle throughout the game before falling to the Skippers 59-49 in the quarterfinals of the Division I girls’ basketball tournament Saturday at Rhode Island College.
The Bulldogs were only down three points with two minutes left before the Skippers pulled away.
The performance came a day after coach Holly Misto and her staff resigned as a results of parents’ complaints about the head coach.
“We didn’t quit until the final buzzer sounded,” said Westerly High athletic director Jamey Vetelino, who coached the team with track coach Dave Federico. “I could not have been any prouder of the way they competed.”
Westerly had lost to the Skippers 63-34 on Feb. 21, but the game was much closer this time around.
Izzy Carey, one of the team’s inside players, turned in one of her best performances of the season with 19 points and nine rebounds.
“She was not going to be intimated by anyone,” Vetelino said. “She played aggressive. She wasn’t hesitating on offense and she was aggressive for rebounds. Everyone played with that mindset.”
NK features center Taylor Buckley, last year’s state Gatorade player of the year when she played for Exeter-West Greenwich.
Vetelino said Westerly had the lead for most of the first half. NK surged ahead as the half ended and led 31-27 after the first 16 minutes.
“They would get the lead back to eight or nine points in the second half, but we didn’t let it get over 10,” Vetelino said.
Westerly (12-13) did cut the lead to three with about two minutes left and had a contested layup rim out.
Buckley finished with 31 points for the Skippers, including a 12-for-14 performance from the free throw line.
“She was 5 for 5 in the second half from the line and they were 9 for 11 in the second half, pretty much in the last couple of minutes,” Vetelino said.
Maddy McLaughlin and Emily Sullivan contributed six points each for the Bulldogs. Sullivan also had six rebounds.
McLaughlin, the team’s leading scorer at 16.5 points per game, did not make a field goal — she was the focus of the Skippers’ defense. She finished with six assists and four steals.
Julianna Morone contributed four steals and six rebounds.
North Kingstown (22-2) takes on La Salle Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the semifinals.