WINTHROP — Winthrop freshman guard Sage Fortin knew a lot was riding on her baseline 3-pointer when she let it rip with 2:19 left in the basketball game.

Her line-drive shot was a direct hit and altered the game. The rest of the Ramblers fell in line and rallied as Winthrop (16-2) stole a 39-35 victory from Oak Hill’s (14-4) grasp before a full house on Wednesday night. 

The Raiders led the entire game until Fortin’s long-range shot found its mark.

“Yeah, I was nervous,” Fortin said. “(The defender) was off me a little bit so I wanted to shoot it. The team needed it and so I just really wanted to contribute. I could tell by my release that one was going in.” 

Winthrop coach Joe Burnham just smiled with pride as he spoke about Fortin’s daring decision from the arc.

“That was a big shot,” Burnham said. “She is going to be a special basketball player moving forward. She is only a freshman right now, but the sky’s the limit for her.”

Fortin’s 3-pointer couldn’t have come at a better time. Oak Hill was leading 34-33 when Fortin landed the game-changer.

The last two minutes of the game intensified between both teams. Leading scorer Desirae Dumais (game-high 15 points) hit the front end of a pair of foul shots that made it a 36-35 game.

But time was slipping away and the Raiders were forced to foul. Sophomore guard Maddie Perkins hit three foul shots down the stretch to insure Winthrop’s victory.

“We talked at halftime and (we said) just stop trying to hit a home run,” Burnham said. “Go out there and hit some singles and just chip away and chip away. We went back to our full-court defense to give us a different look and it kind of got them going faster, got them out of their rhythm and that was nice for sure.

“The Raiders are such a well-coached team. Those girls play so hard — ton of respect to them,” he added. “They are going to make us better going into the Class C tournament.”

The first half belonged to the Raiders, who constructed a 23-16 lead at halftime. 

“They played really well,” Fortin said. “They gave us a tough matchup.  They were really aggressive and played good defense.

“In the locker room, we were nervous,” she added. “We knew they were going to come out with hard intensity. After halftime, we knew we had to come out with more intensity, and we did in the fourth quarter.”

But the Ramblers adjusted their defense and helped put the kibosh on Oak Hill’s offense in the second half.

“We played with a little more composure for a bigger part of the game,” Oak Hill coach Mike Labonte. “We held the tempo. We held a high-scoring team down to a pretty low number. Unfortunately, they made one more play than we did.”

Labonte agreed that Fortin’s 3-pointer made the difference in the final moments of the game.

“It was (big), but again, they had some real nice stuff to cut that deficit down,” he said. “So that was a big 3. It was a good battle and a great way to prepare for the playoffs.”

 

Winthrop Kena Souza (23) guards Oak Hill junior forward Audrey Dillman (24) during a basketball game in Winthrop on Wednesday night. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Winthrop junior guard Madison Forgue (10) goes up for a shot as Oak Hill sophomore forward Brianna Dumais (31) intervenes in a basketball game in Winthrop on Wednesday night. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal Buy this Photo


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