After suffering a pair of road losses to division rivals Mount Pleasant and Moses Brown, the Pilgrim girls’ basketball team was searching for a way to assert some power away from home.
Pilgrim’s trip to North Providence High School would not help the cause, as the Pats lost to the Lady Cougars 53-22. The Patriots closed out their weekend in a non-league match-up with West Warwick High School, which they also dropped in a 58-26 decision. Pilgrim’s record on the road, where they have played 10 of 12 contests on the season, falls to 0-10.
Pilgrim began the game struggling to hold onto the ball, committing three turnovers in the first minute. Despite the assistance, the Cougars also struggled to score and the teams found themselves locked in a 9-9 tie more than halfway into the first period of play.
The Patriots were led early by the offensive rebounding of senior Janelle Paliotte and intense play from senior Betsy Heidel, who led her team in points with eight.
“We played pretty good defense [early on],” Pilgrim head coach Ian Smith said. “When we moved the ball on offense we were able to get good shots and we hit them.”
After Pilgrim kept the score close for a majority of the first half, the offensive attack of the Cougars began to catch fire. North Providence jumped out to a commanding lead behind the work of sophomores Kelsey Burgess and Tatiana Marulanda, who had six and five points in the first half, respectively.
Despite poor free-throw shooting – the Cougars went 2-10 from the charity stripe – North Providence was able to close out the first 16 minutes on a 21-7 run.
“[We had] a few too many turnovers and I think it could have been a closer game at the half,” Smith said. “We were right there but we fell behind a little bit early. We used a lot of energy to get back into the game and then North Providence went on another run before the end of the half and it opened up the lead a little bit.”
Entering the second half down by 14, the Patriots had quite a bit of work to do to keep the game close. However, they were held to only one field goal, a short jumper by senior Katelyn Reph, and six points overall in the period.
The Cougars, though, were able to net 23 points in the half, led by valuable three-point field goals from Burgess and sophomore Olivia Capraro. North Providence’s stifling defense would lead to fast-break points, including steals and layups from junior Gianna Giliotti.
“We just had a tough night shooting, every team has one,” Smith said. “For us to have a tough night shooting, it was rough for us. The game fell apart and the turnovers piled up.”
The Patriots return to action on Wednesday, Jan. 23, against Scituate in their third home game of the season. The Spartans possess a 5-0 league record this year and are a perfect 3-0 on the road.
“We have to continue to work on taking care of the ball,” Smith said. “We have to get the ball, and if we get into our offense, make good passes and work as a team on offense, we can be successful. We have to clean up a few things defensively but we will make those adjustments. If we can defend, I think we have a shot [against Scituate].”