HAVERHILL — Celtics head coach Doc Rivers has often spoken about how basketball is a make-and-miss game. The Georgetown Royals can give credence to that principle.
The underdog 16th seeded Royals (7-15) hung tough with their hosts, top-seeded Whittier Tech (20-1), throughout the first half. The second half was another story as Georgetown struggled to execute offensively, taking and missing a number of tough shots, while Whittier was much more efficient, especially on the fast break.
Utilizing the potent trio sophomore trio of Andrea Terranova (18 points), Michaela Martin (16 points)and Samnell Vonleh (8 points), Whittier had too much firepower for Georgetown to contain, 66-49.
“They had a difficult time finishing in the second half,” said Georgetown coach Dave Tucker, whose Royals only made one field goal in the fourth quarter when the season was on the line. “Nice close game in the first half, I thought our defense did pretty well.
“Whittier was hitting everything where they weren’t in the first half. Well, they were hitting their threes in the first half, but they used Vanleh a lot more in the second half than they did in the first half.”
A one-point first quarter lead for the Wildcats, 9-8, turned into seven-point lead at the intermission thanks to some hot shooting as Whittier drained four three-pointers.
Turnovers and transition buckets off rebounds also killed Georgetown, who gave up 12 points on 11 turnovers in the first half.
“(Their pace) certainly does, it wears me out,” answered Tucker about Whittier’s ability to wear teams down with their transition game. “They definitely are quick. But the turnovers were big, big. The second half we were only marked down for five turnovers, but 16 for the game hurts and in the first half they got 12 points on those 11 turnovers.”
Despite battling a knee injury that cost her most of the second quarter, nagged her for much of the year and will require surgery in a couple of weeks, Kristin Hogan still managed to battle for 14 points.
To start the third quarter Hogan needed a heat-check to cool her off. Draining a three pointer and hitting three of Georgetown’s first four baskets to start the second half to bring the score within four, 35-31, it looked like Hogan might be able to will her team to a win in Willis Reed fashion.
However, after Wildcats coach Kevin Bradley called a timeout to stem the momentum, Hogan cooled off and would only hit one more basket the rest of the night. With Hogan clearly hampered by the injury, the Royals struggled to find any rhythm in the offensive end, and the Wildcats were able to double up their opponents 31-16 the rest of the game.
“Kristin has been playing hurt all year, the kid’s got the heart of a lion,” Tucker said in praise. “I can’t say enough about all my seniors — Marissa Agganis, Kylie Troy and Kristin. They have all been starters since they were freshmen. I can’t say enough about how hard they work, how great their defense is. I feel bad ending this way, but someone’s got to lose.”