Huskies get defensive at Panthers' expense to capture Christmas tourney 39-29

By Jean LeBlanc

GORHAM — Gorham freshman Karley Cordwell paced a balance offensive attack to lead the Huskie girls' basketball team to a 39-29 victory over Lisbon in the Gorham Holiday Tournament.

Gorham reached the finals with a 39-27 victory over the Profile Patriots in its preliminary game. The Huskies improved to an overall record of 5-2 (3-2 in Division IV).

"We started the game against Profile, matched up on defense, hoping to apply constant pressure and disrupt the ball-handlers," said Joe Cassady, Huskies' head coach. "Profile handled the pressure well, holding a slight 17-15 lead at the half. We went into the second half aware of the mistakes we were making and made the necessary adjustments. In the third quarter we switched over to a zone press that seemed to create much more problems, resulting in us outscoring the Patriots 15-3. We finished the game strong defensively, limiting Profile to only seven points to our nine."

Gorham was led by senior Lauren Gralenski's game-high 12 points. Junior Delaney Holmes had eight points and Cordwell chipped in with seven.

Profile was led by Carly Inghram's 11 points and teammate Emma Rayburn's seven markers.

SuppGGBB4Senior Lauren Gralenski helped Gorham capture its Christmas tournament with two solid games against Profile and Lisbon in the finals. (JEAN LEBLANC PHOTO)

In a well played finals, both teams worked the ball offensively to get their shots off. The defenses were tough and did not allow many second chances. After two quarters of play Gorham held a slim 14-11 lead. Madison Dumont had five points for the visitors, while Gorham got four points each from Gralenski and Cordwell.

"What a great effort by our team!" said Cassady. "We anticipated Lisbon being our toughest test up to this point in the season and knew their size was going to be an issue on the boards. We did a fantastic job of limiting Lisbon to second-chance opportunities by boxing out the offensive players and recovering rebounds. Defensively, we did everything right in the first half, holding the Panthers to only 11 points. Our team did a stellar job on forcing turnovers with the press, and an even better job of rotating and helping in our half-court defensive set. Caitlyn Malia has proven to be a strong asset when applying defensive pressure, and Maddie Rivard demonstrated some great hustle play as well."
Both teams came out firing in the third quarter, with Lisbon outscoring Gorham 16-15 to trail by two, 29-27, heading into the final eight minutes of play. Dumont had five hoops to pace Lisbon, while Holmes netted five points and Cordwell added four to provide most of the third quarter offense for the Huskies.
The Huskies began to pull away in the final quarter outscoring the Panthers 10-2 to make it a 39-29 final. Cordwell had two more hoops to add to her growing total. Dumont had the lone hoop for Lisbon.
GHStourney2Freshman Karly Cordwell had a team-high 12 points in Gorham's 39-29 win over Lisbon in the finals. (JEAN LEBLANC PHOTO)
"Offensively, we weren't very aggressive the first half," Cassady said. "Lisbon sat back in a 2-3 zone and dared us to shoot the ball from the perimeter, which resulted in us settling for shots rather than getting good looks for shooters slashing to the basket. It wasn't until the second half that we began to move the ball better and attack the zone off the dribble. Lauren Gralenski did a fantastic job of getting her teammates involved through precision passing on the offensive end.  Her court-vision was vital in creating scoring opportunities. Karly Cordwell was our leading scorer with 12 points, while the scoring was very well-distributed among the rest of our team."
Gorham is back to the regular season schedule with three straight home games. The Huskies hosted Colebrook (3-2) on Wednesday. Results were not known as of press time. 
Gorham is slated to entertain Profile (1-4) on Friday at 5:30 p.m.
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