PROVIDENCE – A rugged defensive effort limited Moses Brown to just 13 second half points Tuesday night at Rhode Island College, and as a result, the Narragansett Mariners will play in the Division II girls’ basketball championship Saturday at the Ryan Center.
The Mariners (21-4, 16-2 Division II-South) used their defense to turn a 21-19 game at halftime into a 55-32 rout by the final buzzer. Like their earlier playoff games against Tolman and Scituate, a hard full and three-quarters press by Narragansett left top seed Moses Brown (19-3, 17-1 Division II-North) exhausted in the second half.
The proof shows up in the stat lines of Mariner guards and freshmen Chelsea Sahagian and Abby McKanna, and senior Jackie Iannucci.
Sahagian finished with 16 points and seven steals. McKanna had a team-high 17 points, four steals and a block, and Iannucci had five points and three steals.
McKanna did most of her damage off the set offense in the first half, scoring nine of her 17, despite also missing several shots. She said she does her best to calm down and focus when she misses shots or commits fouls.
“If I’m in the flow, it is a bit hard to control my emotions,” she said. “I just have to remember to play my game.”
At the top of the press, her long arms have bothered every team the Mariners have played this year. Tuesday night, she only had two fouls at the half, and didn’t pick up a fourth foul until the game was out of hand with four minutes remaining.
Moses Brown limited junior center Mercedes Harris to 10 points with a variety of interior defenses, but in the second half, she didn’t get many touches anyway thanks to the press. Harris also had two steals and one block.
Hannah Saris led Moses Brown with 15 points and four steals, but she and fellow guard Abby Schreiber (0 points) faded badly in the second half because of the press. Forward Kayla Imperatore, who scored 20 in the Quakers’ game against East Greenwich, was held to three points by Harris, and starting center Hannah Flynn did not score.
Narragansett also got strong contributions from two other players at the 4-spot, Leia Mistowski and Hannah Collier. Mistowski is averaging more than 10 rebounds a game – Mahoney cited her strength as a reason for her incredible positioning down low, and the sophomore is among the state leaders in the hammer throw for track and field.
As the game got more physical in the second half, Collier came in for a five-minute stretch and chipped in a block and a steal. She spelled Mistowski at the time, who finished with four points and three steals.
Also contributing for Narragansett were Ali Castrovillari (3 points), Peach Griffith and Raquel Harris. It was the first game back in more than a week for Raquel Harris, who is trying to play the last few games of her senior year on a hurt foot.
McKanna was confident about Narragansett’s chances against Classical in the Division II finals 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Ryan Center.
“We’re going to have to play how we’ve been playing all year,” she said, adding, “We’re gonna win.”
Want to re-live moments from Tuesday’s game? Check out our running live blog here – The Narragansett game started at about 8 p.m. Looking for a write-up of Classical’s win against Johnston? Click here. Want to be e-mailed for future girls’ basketball articles? Click the “keep me posted” button underneath this article.
As far as scheduling goes, we should have a game preview posted Friday morning, and for the Division II finals, we will be live blogging again. So, be sure to tell grandma and grandpa, and any other out-of-state residents.