WESTERLY — This is how Westerly High girls basketball coach Sue Haik describes the intensity with which her team plays:

"If I asked them to run through a wall, they would keep trying to run through it. Until they did," she said.

That intensity and drive have carried the Bulldogs to the Division II title game on Sunday against Classical at Rhode Island College. Tipoff is scheduled for 3:15 p.m.

The second-seeded Bulldogs (17-6) are riding a five-game winning streak. Their success this season has been built on full-court, man-to-man defense, which creates turnovers and steals, and allows Westerly to get easy points in transition.

Westerly beat No. 10 Shea by 29, 69-40, and No. 3 Coventry by 24, 52-28, in its two playoff games.

Senior post player Megan Albamonti leads the team with 17.9 points and 13.2 rebounds per game. She has more than 1,000 career points and rebounds, likely the first girl in Westerly history to achieve the feat.

Guard Lauren Dobson averages 8.9 points per game, and Isis Hamelin, who has missed almost half the season due to injuries, is next at 6.3.

What has been the key for the Bulldogs of late?

"I think when the whole team finally started to get healthy," Haik said. "The last three games we've been 100 percent healthy, no tweaks or aches."

Fourth-seeded Classical (16-4) is also riding a five-game winning streak, including three postseason wins. The Purple upset top-seeded Scituate, 55-52, in the semifinals.

Classical trailed by 10 points at the half, but allowed just 12 points in the second half to knock off the Spartans.

Guard Nina Karlin scored 21 points, including 14 in the second half. She scored nine when the Bulldogs beat Classical, 50-47, on Dec. 20.

"She can take it to the hole; she's quick," Haik said. "You have to keep her in front of you. We just played good defense on her the first time.

"You want to make her give it up and try to prevent her from getting it back."

Anita Hazziez scored 10 in the win over Scituate. She is an inside player, who finished with 11 points in the December loss to Westerly.

"She is a quick, athletic post player who likes to take it to the hoop," Haik said. "We can't give her easy baskets."

Defensively, the Purple likes to play a 1-2-2 zone that they will extend to half-court at times. Classical does not press often, Haik said.

Albamonti had a big game — 30 points, 16 rebounds — in the win over Classical. Haik is uncertain if Classical will employ any special defenses this time around.

"I would expect them to try something different. But we've seen just about everything this season," Haik said. "We've been talking about what she can do when they do that. She doesn't care if she scores; she just cares if we win."

Westerly last appeared in a title game in 2011, losing to La Salle Academy, 55-48, in Division I. In 2010, the Bulldogs topped Chariho, 46-43, for the D-II crown.

"In the end it will come down to executing and leaving everything on the court," Haik said. "If we can do that, it's all I can ask for."

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.