Toll Gate battles back in second half to defeat Davies
Senior guard Christina Barry scored 11 of her game-high 14 points in the second half to help Toll Gate erase a five-point halftime deficit and prevail, 39-33, at Davies in Division III action on Tuesday night.
Another senior, Quinn Freeman, also played extremely well down the stretch to help the Titans secure the victory, finishing the game with six points, five rebounds and four steals.
Davies stretched its lead to 10 at one point in the second half, but Toll Gate’s senior leadership took over during crunch time.
“The heart on the team started to show up,” Toll Gate head coach Owen Paquet said when asked what fueled his team’s comeback. “Our senior leadership was big with Christina Barry and Quinn Freeman, and then junior Isabel Donnelly was rebounding for us and Sam Arnold, a sophomore, also played well. The nucleus is starting to come together, and they showed ball security at the end of the game, which is great. They really showed up at the end.”
In addition to the 14 points, Barry added eight rebounds and five steals, and Arnold recorded six points, a game-high 13 rebounds and three steals. Donnelly was impressive in the paint, particularly in the first half, as she recorded 11 of her 16 blocks in the first 16 minutes. She narrowly missed a triple-double, compiling eight points, 11 rebounds, 16 blocks and three steals. Donnelly was a big reason why the Titans were able to hold the Patriots to just 16 points in the first half and 33 points for the game.
“She’s come to play this year,” Paquet said of Donnelly. “She’s really grown a lot already through the first couple weeks of practice. Her basketball IQ is increasing every day, and it’s really nice to see.”
The Titans got out to a hot start, with Freeman and Barry knocking down a 3-pointer each in the opening minute of the first half to make it 6-0.
But, after that, Toll Gate struggled to produce points for the remainder of the half, netting just five points over the next 15 minutes.
Davies answered Toll Gate’s 6-0 run to start the game with a 10-0 run of its own, ultimately ended by a Donnelly bucket in the paint to cut the Patriots’ lead to 10-8.
The home team would ultimately take a 16-11 lead into the break as junior guard Samantha Baaco hit a long two-pointer at the buzzer to stretch the Patriots’ lead from three to five.
It was more of the same to start the second half. Donnelly collected a rebound and converted on a putback in the first minute, but Davies’ Julianna Desautel buried a 3 at the other end to push the lead to six.
The Patriots’ lead got to 10 before the Titans began to make a push. Barry drove to the basket for a lay-in with 10 minutes left, and Arnold swished a two-pointer from the baseline shortly after to cut the deficit to four points.
Under the seven-minute mark, Barry made back-to-back 3s to tie the game at 30, and, with five minutes to go, Alex Werner kicked the ball out to Arnold for a long two-pointer to give the Titans their first lead since early in the first half, 32-30.
From there, Toll Gate never surrendered the lead again. Barry and Freeman both had big baskets in the waning minutes to hold off Davies and seal the win.
Desautel (13 points), Baaco (10 points) and Jennifer Cruz (eight points) combined to score 31 of Davies’ 33 points in the game.
The Titans are now 1-1 in league play, and they will return to action on Saturday, Dec. 30 when they travel to Block Island (2-3) to take on the Hurricanes at 12:25 p.m.