COVENTRY — In East Providence High’s disappointing 50-47 loss to Rogers last Thursday, senior Mary Monagle proved to be one of the bright spots, knocking down six three-pointers to close with a season-high 20 points.
During another key Division II crossover battle against host Coventry on Wednesday night, head coach Mike Solitro drew upon that previous knowledge to help inspire his troops to a 45-38 triumph at the C. Arthur Flori Gymnasium.
After Knotty Oakers’ senior guard Mackenzie Mitchell dropped a “three-bomb” to tie the score for only the second time at 26-26 with 10:31 remaining in the final stanza, Monagle immediately responded with a pair of treys of her own – both in the span of just 28 seconds.
Those buckets ignited an 11-6 EP surge over a segment of 4:54 midway through the half, allowing the Townies to improve to 6-6 overall and, more importantly, 4-2 in II-East action.
Coventry fell to 8-5 overall and 2-4 in league play.
Monagle finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while senior Taylor Wiggins contributed a “double-double” with 13 points and a whopping 19 boards and senior point guard Lindsee Allienello 11 points, six assists and three steals.
For the Oakers, no one manufactured a double-figure outing, though junior guard Julie Jadach netted nine points, while Mitchell and junior forward/co-captain Ashley McNulty both had six.
“Mary’s threes were huge,” noted Solitro after the interesting contest. “They went to a box-and-one (defense) on Taylor (Wiggins), because she had been dominating the inside (in the opening half). I told the girls at halftime that (the Oakers) would probably do that, and that somebody had to step up and shoot the ball.
“Mary had a nice game against Rogers the other night, so I asked the kids, ‘Someone’s got to shoot – and score – if they’re going to pull that box-and-one off of Taylor,’” he added. “That someone was Mary … I didn’t care who it was, but she proved to be a huge factor.”
Monagle’s third trey, lofted with 9:47 left in regulation, gave EP a 32-27 lead. Just 1:27 later, Monagle hauled in a huge defensive rebound and threw it down court to classmate Thomeeka Speaks, who had been fouled on the layup attempt.
Speaks calmly drained the two free throws to give the Townies a 34-27 cushion with 8:20 remaining.
The Oakers didn’t succumb easily, however. Mitchell drained another three-pointer only 16 ticks after, slicing the disadvantage to 34-30, but Wiggins canned a foul shot, then a putback, and Allienello converted a one-handed, baseline jumper and a superb layin off a steal with 3:51 left to give EP its largest lead of the tilt at 41-32.
Junior Haley Dennis netted another three-pointer only nine seconds after to cut it to 41-35, though Speaks’ two freebies with 38.5 remaining sealed it for the Townies.
Coventry actually had held a 4-2 advantage just 95 seconds following the opening tip, courtesy of McNulty’s fast-break layup, but Solitro’s bunch went on a 9-2 run over the next 3:04 to gain an 11-6 lead. Wiggins began the flurry with a conventional three-point play, then finished it with a pretty turnaround one-hander in the lane at the 11:21 mark.
Allienello’s long jumper at 6:42 gave the visitors a 17-10 cushion, but the Oakers fought back with a 7-2 run before Speaks landed a pair from the charity stripe with 34.5 seconds left before the break.
EP, which made a hefty 25 turnovers throughout (11 in the first 16 minutes), went into the intermission up, 21-17.
“We had too many turnovers’ that’s been a problem all year for us,” Solitro said. “But what I do like is, if we give the ball away, the kids work really hard to get it back.”
It showed Wednesday, as the Townies forced Coventry into 21.
“We couldn’t even throw anything in the ocean; we just didn’t shoot well,” confessed Oakers’ mentor Donna Beaudoin. “We had put a box-and-one on (Wiggins) because she had torched us in the first half, but that opened it up for (Monagle).
“I told our girls after that we’ve got to play together as a team, that – if we play individual basketball – we’ll be in trouble,” she continued. “(Monagle) hit a couple before we could adjust, and we couldn’t come back from those shots.”
Still, EP will have its work cut out for it over the next several days. It will host East Greenwich in another crossover contest at home at 7 p.m., Tuesday, then travel to Narragansett for another tough one at 7 p.m., Thursday.