NARRAGANSETT — The Prout and Narragansett girls basketball teams found mirror images in each other on Monday night. Effort and intensity on defense are defining characteristics. Offense is still a work in progress.
At the end of a grind-it-out game, Prout had done just a little more with its strengths, holding off the Mariners for a 25-23 victory.
“I thought our defense was absolutely phenomenal,” Prout coach John Silva said.
That effort helped the Crusaders post a second consecutive win, alongside a victory over Mount St. Charles. Prout is now 2-2 in league play. Narragansett dropped to 1-3, losing a tight game in familiar fashion for the second time in a week. Prout survived when Leah Hart missed a deep 3-pointer at the buzzer. The same thing happened in Narragansett’s loss to North Providence last week.
Hart led all scorers with 13 points but found few open looks against a Prout defense geared toward stopping her. Aaliyah Capalbo and Stella Mayo worked as a tag team to slow Hart down.
“We came in with a game plan to take away Leah Hart and I think we did a really good job of it,” Silva said. “The girls made it difficult for her to even get a shot off. Every once in a while, you’re going to leave a person open doing that, but overall, we did a really nice job.”
With its defense forcing turnovers and limiting quality looks, the stage was set for Prout to take control, but offensive struggles – and Narragansett’s own strong defense – meant there would be no comfortable lead.
The Crusaders took a 16-13 edge to halftime thanks to a 6-2 burst powered by Capalbo, Zoe Moan and Kelsey McKenna. They followed with the first three points out of halftime on a free throw and a driving leaner by Moan.
Up 19-13 with 13:32 left, Prout went almost nine minutes before its next basket, and Narragansett worked back to a 19-19 tie in that span, thanks to a 3 by Hart and a putback and free throw by Livy Waranis.
After the teams traded buckets, Prout scored four straight on a jumper by Morgan Holubesko and free throws by Morgan Verdi and Holubesko.
Prout wobbled in the final minute, failing to score and committing some potentially costly turnovers, but a putback by Waranis was the only offense Narragansett could muster as it tried to come back. Waranis was fouled with three seconds left and missed the front end of a one-on-one. After a successful inbounds pass by Prout and a foul, Hart stole the next inbounds pass before missing on the desperation 3.
“Down the stretch, there were some little things, and I need to do a better job, too,” Silva said. “When the ball went to the sideline over there instead of the baseline, I had a timeout and I should have used it.”
Holubesko and Moan led the Crusaders with eight points each. Ella Philippi pulled down 13 rebounds.
“[Moan] has an ability to get to the rim, and she’s a strong kid,” Silva said. “She can absorb the hit and still score. Ella Philippi had 13 rebounds tonight. All that stuff helps in a grind-out game like that.”
Going forward, the Crusaders would like it to be less of a grind when they have the ball.
“I thought our offense was very stagnant,” Silva said. “We needed more ball movement. Back to the drawing board. We’ll be back at practice tomorrow and that’s what we’ll be working on.”
Prout was set to face North Providence on Wednesday. Narragansett was slated to visit Scituate.