WA Girls’ Basketball outlasts Bedford in high scoring battle


James McDermott

WA Girls’ Basketball huddles up to game plan for the second half.

James McDermott, Sports Editor

WA Girls’ Basketball improved their record to 3-5 on the season after beating Bedford at home 57-53 on Friday, Jan. 6.

WA came out with an abundance of energy to begin the first quarter, starting the game on an 11-6 run to set the tone. Both their offensive and defensive intensity continued to help lift WA over Bedford throughout the entire game. 

Bedford was unable to find an answer for WA’s full-court press throughout the opening frame. Holding onto an 11-6 lead, WA’s press forced a turnover which then led to a layup by junior Molly Harding. Following the bucket, WA got right back into their 2-2-1 full-court defensive formation, forcing Bedford to call a timeout. 

With one minute remaining in the first quarter, senior Ali Mammola went down with a severe high-ankle sprain on a layup attempt and was unable to return to the game. The injury left WA needing some of their players off the bench to step up in the remaining quarters. 

After the first quarter came to a close with WA holding a commanding 16-6 lead, Bedford came out firing to begin the second quarter with a 7-0 run, cutting WA’s lead to just three. Freshman Maddie Smith then knocked down a much-needed three-pointer to finally put an end to Bedford’s run. 

After multiple empty possessions for both teams, freshman Faith Williams finished a layup to extend WA’s lead to 21-13 with three minutes remaining in the half. Bedford continued to refuse to go away, going on a quick 5-0 run to cut WA’s lead right back down to three. After the two teams traded baskets in the last 15 seconds, WA entered halftime with a 23-20 lead. 

The second half is where the three-point explosion came for WA. After a back-and-forth first couple of minutes, sophomore Diya Jayaraman subbed into the game and hit back-to-back threes to give WA a 31-25 lead. Sophomore Erin Keefe then added a three of her own to extend WA’s lead back to nine, giving them their largest lead since the first quarter. 

The final five minutes of the third quarter were back and forth, with no shortage of scoring for either team. Williams, senior Alex Jones, and freshman Olivia Pillsbury all contributed to WA’s final 14 points of the quarter with buckets of their own, with it being capped off with a buzzer-beating put back from Harding. The quarter came to a close with WA in the lead 45-35.

Senior Alanna Saunders was very impressed with the team’s offensive playstyle and production.

“Our shots were falling which was obviously helpful,” Saunders said. “I think we also did a better job with taking smart risks on offense.”

When Pillsbury knocked down yet another three-pointer to begin the final quarter, it appeared that WA was starting to run away with the lead, but Bedford continued to refuse to go down without a fight, going on a momentum-shifting 7-0 run. 

Bedford’s run cut WA’s lead down to just six with five minutes remaining in the game. Saunders was able to eliminate some of Bedford’s momentum by sinking a much-needed free throw for WA. Harding then followed that up with another three, extending WA’s lead right back to 10 with just three minutes remaining.

Bedford gave WA a slight scare by going on a 5-0 run cutting WA’s lead in half with two minutes remaining, but a timely layup by Williams extended WA’s lead back to seven. After several clutch free throws by Keefe to ice the game, WA left the game with a 57-53 victory. 

“We’ve gained a lot of confidence in ourselves and our ability to play the game,” Saunders said. “If we keep that mindset for the rest of the season I think we will be pretty successful.”