WESTERLY — Stonington High turned up the defensive pressure in the second half and zipped past Chariho High, 59-31, in the girls consolation game of the WCCU Holiday Basketball Tournament on Saturday night at Federico Gym.
Stonington held a comfortable 31-15 lead at halftime, but turned to a full-court press in the first few minutes of the second period.
The move forced the Chargers into a number of turnovers, and the Bears scored 16 straight points during a three-minute stretch to take a 49-20 lead. Kate Johnson and Zoe Ribeiro each had four points during the spurt.
At times, Chariho had difficulty getting the ball past half court.
Stonington coach Paulla Solar said her team did a good job on the defensive end.
"I thought our hands were quick and we did a good job of anticipating passes," Solar said. "Sometimes it's easy to just go with the flow on defense and not anticipate."
Gilligan said his team did not respond well to the Stonington pressure.
"We work on breaking the press in practice and we have five different options. But once we got in the game, we didn't do any of those things," Gilligan said. "We panicked and threw the ball away."
Aliza Bell was a force all night for the Bears, finishing with 15 points, 17 rebounds and eight steals. Bell made 6 of 11 field-goal attempts and was 3 for 4 at the line.
"We knew their bigs were good, but we needed to do a better job of rebounding," Chariho coach Tom Gilligan said.
Miranda Arruda finished with 13 points and four steals for the Bears (7-1). Zoe Ribeiro scored 12 points, including a 3-pointer. Point guard Kate Johnston had 11, including a number of nice baskets in transition when the Bears were pressing. She also contributed six steals.
Caitlin O'Leary finished with 10 points for Chariho (0-5), with three 3-pointers, all in the first half.
Spencer Shiels scored seven points, but left the game with about 12 minutes remaining after she went to the floor hard. Gilligan said he did not see the play, but thought she might have collided with another player.
The game was close early — the Chargers only trailed 10-8 after the first six minutes. But the Bears outscored the Chargers 15-3 over the next six minutes to take a 25-11 lead with 3:33 left in the first half.
Stonington next travels to Waterford on Friday for a game at 7 p.m. Chariho heads to Cranston East on the same night and time.