December 29, 2012

Photos by Carld D. Walsh/Staff Photographer

Olivia Shaw of Thornton Academy knocks away a shot by Haley Batchelder of Windham during their SMAA schoolgirl basketball game Friday at Windham. Thornton went 1 of 11 from the foul line in the final minute and a half but came out with a 37-36 win.

Girls' basketball: Trojans pull an escape

By MARK JEANNERET Special to the Press Herald

WINDHAM - Olivia Shaw and Laurent Leskowsky each scored 10 points Friday to lead Thornton Academy to a 37-36 victory against Windham in a SMAA girls' basketball game.

The victory didn't come easily for the Trojans, who continually missed shots down the stretch to keep the Eagles within distance. Thornton didn't score from the field in the final three minutes and went 1 of 11 from the foul line in the last 1:30.

"Obviously, foul shooting was an issue down the stretch," said Thornton Coach Eric Marston. "At the same time we didn't feel it should really have even come to that.

"We just didn't execute throughout the entire game. We just made a lot of mental mistakes from start to finish.

"As a result of that I think we put ourselves in a little bit of a situation where we had to try and gut it out at the end."

The Trojans (3-2) weren't the only ones missing shots late in the game.

Windham (3-3) scored only one basket in the final 61/2 minutes and regularly turned the ball over.

A 3-pointer by Sam Frost with 25.8 seconds remaining made it a one-point game. Thornton followed with six straight misses from the foul line, providing ample opportunities for the Eagles to take the lead.

"They definitely gave us every chance to win that game," said Windham Coach Brody Artes.

"They missed a bunch of free throws down the stretch and we just turned the ball over too much, and we just couldn't buy a basket. That was the name of the game for us."

Thornton built an early lead, thanks to a 9-3 run to close the opening quarter with a 13-7 advantage.

A basket by Aurora Connolly stretched Thornton's lead to a game-high seven points at 15-8 early in the second.

"I don't think they expected us to come out as hard as we did in the first quarter," Leskowsky said.

"I definitely saw a different team in the second half."

Windham started to work itself back into the game by outscoring the Trojans 8-4 to close out the first half trailing 19-16.

The Eagles continued to push in the third quarter and inched within 31-29 entering the fourth.

"All credit to Windham," said Marston, who pointed to his team's defensive effort late in the game as a difference. "They just played extremely hard, and a couple of shots here and there, if they had gone in, it would have been a completely different story."

Sadie Nelson led the Eagles with a game-high 12 points.

Sadie Nelson of Windham attempts to keep possession of the ball while Emily Richard of Thornton Academy seeks to force a held ball.

Aurora Connolly of Thornton Academy keeps her focus on the basket Friday while driving against Katie Herzig of Windham during their SMAA schoolgirl basketball game at Windham High. Thornton improved to 3-2 with a 37-36 victory. Windham dropped to 3-3.

Emily Richard of Thornton Academy controls the ball and heads to the lane while looking for a way to dribble around Katie Herzig of Windham.

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