EAST GREENWICH — An opposing star was lighting it up and the North Kingstown girls basketball team was in a dogfight.
And then, all of a sudden, the Skippers were rolling.
From a 50-50 tie in the final minute of the third quarter, the Skippers pulled away for an 81-59 win over East Greenwich on Monday night, despite 37 points from Avenger standout Alex Mega. Jordan Moreau led four in double figures with 23 points as the Skippers remained unbeaten in Division I.
“At some points, they were out-hustling us,” Moreau said. “We just had to hustle back and we pulled through.”
“East Greenwich played tough,” North Kingstown head coach Bob Simeone said. “We came out hot, then they hit some shots. And you can’t let teams hang around. But late in the game, we really got into a groove.”
North Kingstown is now 5-0 in league play, tied with Ponaganset for the best record in D-I. The Skippers had played just once in the last two weeks, when they beat Portsmouth in a non-league contest at the Barrington Boosters Holiday Tournament.
Missing a few players Monday due to COVID-19 protocols, they found themselves in a battle. After a solid start in which they jumped to a 10-2 lead, they ended up in a 32-32 tie at halftime. Mega delivered an enormous third quarter to restore the deadlock late in the third quarter. Her 3-pointer – which gave her 33 points – made it 50-50 with 1:31 left in the third quarter.
The Skippers managed to slow Mega down in the fourth quarter, limiting her to just four more points.
“Late in the game, we switched things up a little bit and slowed her down,” Simeone said. “We had to change things up and stop her from getting into the paint.”
And their surge took care of the rest. Moreau scored on a putback and Katherine Martone had a steal and layup to end the third quarter. A 3-pointer and a deep jumper by Moreau, plus two buckets by Anina Sherman opened the fourth quarter as the Skippers extended their run to 13-0.
“It’s back and forth, fast paced when we get on a run like that,” Moreau said. “Everyone’s contributing. It’s a lot of fun.”
East Greenwich momentarily stemmed the tide before an 8-0 burst keyed by Moreau and Jillian Rogers. The Avengers had played a box-and-one defense on Rogers for much of the game, but she found some openings in the fourth quarter, scoring eight straight points for the Skippers down the stretch. A 10-3 run closed out the win.
“This team can go on these big power runs,” Simeone said.
In addition to Moreau’s 23 points, the Skippers got 18 points from Rogers. Sherman and Martone came up big in the absence of Jaelyn Holmes, Sherman scoring 17 and Martone chipping in with 12.
“I thought they came to play,” Simeone said. “Martone, Sherman, Jordan D’Allesandro came off the bench and hit a 3. Kids know, when their number is called, they’ve got to help out. They’re all coming in and helping. Even the freshman Maddison Krug, she’s coming in and helping. It’s a good dynamic of a group. They play well together. When one is struggling, someone else picks it up.”
Monday’s matchup was the start of a week featuring three road games for the Skippers, who were set to face Classical on Wednesday before a rivalry tilt at South Kingstown on Friday.
A moment of silence was held before the game for East Greenwich student Olivia Passaretti, who died in a car wreck Jan. 1.
“I know it was an emotional game for them,” Simeone said. “It was a tragedy what happened. Hopefully, it was good for them to get out and play.”