The Toll Gate girls basketball team fell to host Burrillville 43-38 in the Division III quarterfinals on Monday evening.
The two clubs went back in fourth in the opening half, with the Broncos taking a slim 19-17 lead into the break. After falling behind by 10 points midway through the second half, the Titans would cruise to briefly take a 37-36 lead with 2:54 remaining. However, Burrillville would wrap up the win by going on a 6-0 stretch in the final two minutes.
The story of the game came with 5:59 remaining in the second half, when heavy winds knocked the power out of the Bronco Dome. After a 13-minute delay, and nearly postponing the contest, the lights would return. The Titans made the most of the break, going on a 13-4 run shortly after and regaining the lead.
“The power outage definitely gave us the break that we needed and we got to hold on to one of those timeouts … it was like another timeout so it was nice to get that little break and to tell them, ‘This is it.’ This is kind of how this season has been, we’re constantly climbing the ladder, trying our best, it was a great season for us to accomplishment as much as we did,” said Toll Gate coach Owen Paquet after the loss.
Natalie Aloisio led the Titans with 12 points scored while Isabel Donnelly added nine and Samantha Arnold seven. Alyssa Simpson paced the Broncos with a game-high 13 points.
The Broncos stifled the Toll Gate offense in large periods throughout the contest. Paquet felt that tight defense, as well as dominance in the paint, was the biggest key in Burrillville’s victory.
“We lacked rebounds on our side. Burrillville was hungry, they really hustled and they controlled the tempo for a long time. They made us change our role a little bit and control those boards and outlet passes on our end. A few more looks, a few more layups would have been nice. We missed a few layups and had a few more of those fallen this would have been a different game … Burrillville played a great game on defense,” said Paquet.
The Titans will head back to the drawing board, and will say bye to a handful of graduating seniors. Paquet was proud of the senior leaders’ impact on the team both on and off the court this season.
“The senior captains have done an unbelievable job. Isabel Donnelly has been the backbone of our defense, she may not be scoring a lot on offense every night but when the ball is in her hands, she is making the right decisions. Emily May has done an unbelievable job, she has grown so much since the beginning of the year. I couldn’t have asked for more from our starting seniors,” said Paquet, who also believes that this year’s playoff run will only help the Titans as they look toward the 2019-20 season. “It’s key, the momentum of making the playoffs, the high of this achievement, everyone knows what we are supposed to do and how we’re supposed to play. We bring back three juniors that will be seniors to our starting lineup so we should be right back here.”