AUGUSTA – A double-double for Katie Pushard is typically a double-figure night in the scoring column and a dozen or so dives on the floor.

When the Winthrop senior has as many bumps, bruises, aches and pains as she has points, Pushard knows she’s done her job.

“I know I don’t have much high school basketball left,” said Pushard, who missed the start of the basketball season after breaking her leg during soccer season. “So I just want to take advantage of that, because I know I missed a few games.”

Pushard is making sure her basketball season doesn’t end. She dove full throttle into Tuesday’s playoff action and helped pace Winthrop to 43-31 victory, stunning unbeaten Waynflete in the Western C quarterfinals. The Ramblers advance to Thursday’s semifinal to play third-ranked Jay.

Pushard finished with a game-high 17 points for the seventh-ranked Ramblers (9-10). She had eight points in the first quarter as Winthrop built a nine-point lead.

“We had people underestimating us,” said Pushard. “Some people were underestimating them. We just tried to focus on the game and not listen to what people were saying around us. We just came out and played our best.”

Amanda Garwood finished with nine points and eight rebounds, while Lindsey Gordon added seven points and seven rebounds.

“Everybody contributed,” said Winthrop coach Glen Chase. “They all did something, whether it was a big rebound or a big defensive stop. Lindsey got inside and rebounded. Amanda’s not the biggest player on the floor, but she’s one of the top rebounders every game we play.”

Second-ranked Waynflete (18-1) received 11 points from Margaret Veroneau, who was hampered with foul trouble and eventually fouled out. Annie Cutler added eight for the Flyers, which shot 8-for-55 from the floor when Winthrop limited the Flyers to shooting from the outside.

When Waynflete struggled to hit from the perimeter, it had no other options. The Flyers made three field goals in the second half and committed nearly two dozen turnovers.

“Our defensive pressure makes things difficult for a lot of teams,” said Chase. “I’ve seen only three teams in their league, but I don’t think they play defense like we do. So I knew that was going to make the difference. They like to catch and shoot. They don’t shoot well off the dribble, and we were able to make them do that quite a bit.”

Pushard’s eight points in the first quarter helped Winthrop build a 13-4 lead. The Ramblers also got contributions offensively from Justine Woodman, Anna Smithgall and Gordon in the opening quarter.

Waynflete got within five in the second when the Ramblers suffered a brief drought, but Winthrop finished the half with an 8-2 surge. A fast break basket by Garwood and a rebound by Woodman made it 25-18. Then Pushard scored off a rebound and ended the half with an exclamation point, scoring on a shot heaved up from the right side while falling down.

“I wasn’t really thinking,” Pushard said of the hoop that made it 29-18. “I knew there wasn’t much time left. I just drove down and went up for it. She pushed me, and I just shot it. It happened to go in.”

Waynflete got the deficit down to six in the third on a basket by Veroneau and free throws by Miriam Qazi and Morgan Woodhouse, but Gordon hit a pair of foul shots and Garwood scored on a fast break to end the third with a 35-25 advantage. Winthrop kept the lead in double digits the rest of the way.

“That’s what we talked about at the beginning of the third quarter,” said Chase. “We had to withstand their run and make our owns runs right back and finish the game.”


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