(Byfield MA) Somebody was going to put an end to a very long losing streak.
On this evening, it was Phillips Exeter.
The Big Red defeated Governor’s, 55-47.
“We’ve been needing this one for a while,” said Phillips Exeter coach Katie Brule post-game.
Coach Brule’s team opened their season with a win over Milton Academy on December 8th. Nine straight losses had followed.
The problem had been scoring points. “This was the first game we’ve scored over thirty-five points in a while,” added Coach Brule.
Junior Jac Doucette (32 points) had a huge game for the visitors.
Jac was shut out in the second quarter but was a reliable source of points in the other quarters with drives to the basket.
“It was exciting for our team to get a win,” said Jac afterwards. “We had lots of energy and we were composed.”
Two minutes into the game Jac had eight points and the Govs’ team had five points.
The visitors from New Hampshire carried their lead into the second quarter (24-18) with 5 ½ minutes left. Then the Govs defense took over and shut down Phillips Exeter (2-9) for the rest of the quarter. Three’s by Fiona Neilon (10 points) and Amanda Hill (11 points) keyed ten straight Govs’ points and they had a 28-24 halftime lead.
Junior Hayle Thompson played some tough, shutdown defense on Jac Doucette during the run of excellent Govs offense/defense in the second quarter.
“She had some good blocks,” recalled Jac.
After 2 ½ minutes into the second half, Govs were up by seven, 35-28, after Amanda Hill’s second three-pointer. The Big Red looked to be in a lot of trouble.
But suddenly everything came together for Phillips Exeter. Jac caught fire again and her team put thirteen unanswered points together. Jac had eleven of those points including a 3-pointer. Down went Govs, 41-35, and they now looked like the team in trouble.
Amelia Byerly added to the visitor’s momentum by connecting on a last-second, desperation half-court shot. The Phillips Exeter lead was, 44-37, after three quarters.
The Govs weren’t about to quit. Consecutive inside scores by Gracie Augustine moved them within one possession, 46-44, with five minutes left in the game.
But Jac answered with a three from the top of the key.
Fiona Neilon then responded with an old-fashioned three-point play and Govs were again within one possession with four minutes left.
But Governor’s wouldn’t score another point.
Meanwhile, Jac drove the lane twice for baskets and a Bridgette Martin layin sealed the deal for Phillips Exeter, 55-47.
“We had solid efforts from Emma Liu and Bridgette Martin today,” said Coach Brule.
Jac had a ton of success going to her left to the basket today. “I’m still working on going to the right,” she said.
This is Jac’s first year at Phillips Exeter. “The academics have been hard, and we get plenty of work, but I really like it there,” she added.
Three of Jac’s former teammates at Newburyport High School (Deirdre McElhinney, Emma Foley, and Makenna Ward) took in the game today.
The Govs (2-8) have now lost seven straight.
Phillips Exeter 21 3 20 11 = 55
Governor’s 15 13 9 10 = 47
(The pictures will enlarge.)