WALES — Oak Hill High School wasn’t going to let Madison’s Madeline Wood beat it during the second half of the Raiders’ tilt with the Bulldogs on Thursday. 

The 5-foot-4 sophomore guard drilled three 3-pointers in the first half before being swarmed defensively in the second half by Oak Hill’s Danielle Samson and Jamie Prue.

The Raiders kept Wood off the board in the second half. She had only a handful of touches and managed just three shots over the final 16 minutes. With Madison’s leading score held in check, Oak Hill walked away with a 44-30 victory in its Mountain Valley Conference tilt. 

“We knew she was a tough shooter,” Samson said. “We wanted to keep the ball out of her hands as much as possible. Me and Jaime and Sadie (Goulet) are the three people that usually do that, so we’re kind of used to it.” 

Oak Hill (8-1) deployed a box-and-one defense on Wood on Madison’s leading scorer in an attempt to hamper the Bulldogs offensively. Samson and Prue traded guarding duties, with Samson doing the honors when both were on the court.

“She had hit three threes in the first half and we knew we had to stop that,” Oak Hill coach Charlie Castonguay said. “She kind of makes that team go, so we thought, let’s see what we can do to put the ball in the hands of someone else.” 

With Wood blanketed, the Bulldogs managed eight points in the third quarter and just four in the fourth. 

The Raiders led 27-18 at the break and a basket by Brianna Mulherin to start the second half pushed their lead to double figures. A 3 by Kayla Bess and a bucket by Aly LeBlanc brought the Bulldogs within 29-23 before the Raiders responded with five unanswered points to stretch the lead to 11. 

Madison (5-6) never got closer than seven in the fourth quarter. Five straight points by Grace Sabine, including a three-point play with 2:38 remaining gave Oak Hill a 42-28 lead — its largest of the contest.

“We adjusted OK, we just didn’t score,” Madison coach Albert Veneziano said. “When you don’t score, it makes playing defense difficult also.” 

It was a defensive battle late, but both teams hit their shots early. Oak Hill went 8-for-12 from the field in the first quarter as five different players recorded a basket. Mulherin, Goulet and Kayla Veilleux all had two buckets in the opening stanza. 

The Raiders made quick work of Madison’s full-court press in the first half, something Castonguay said his team worked on during practice in preparation for the Bulldogs. 

“I know they’re a pressing team so we prepared for it,” Castonguay said. “The girls had good reads, made good cuts and moved the ball. Their press really didn’t hurt us, in fact he pulled it off after awhile.” 

Leading 7-6, Oak Hill used its press break to go on a 12-3 run before Veneziano called off the full-court pressure. 

“They have some good ball handlers,” Veneziano said. “They have a good team. We had to get out of that and play defense back and give them one shot at the basket.” 

The Bulldogs clawed within 21-15 on consecutive 3s by Wood before the Raiders closed out the half scoring six of the final nine points. 

Mulherin led Oak Hill with nine points, contributing half the team’s bench points. Meagan Crosby and Sabine had eight and seven, respectively. 

Wood and Bess finished with nine points for the Bulldogs. Bess scored five of Madison’s 12 second-half points. 


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.