Gilford's Orton eliminates Mountaineers 55-35

Senior forward, Stevie Orton scored a game high 27 points, helping the Gilford Eagles to a convincing 55-35 victory over Berlin, in the opening round of the NHIAA division III girls' basketball playoffs in Berlin Thursday. The (12-7) Eagles advance to the quarterfinals to play top seeded (19-0) Newfound, who was a 56-33 winner over Stevens. The loss ended the season for the 12-7 Mountaineers.

BGBBvsGHS1Berlin's Samantha McCann No. 23 and Gilford's Stevie Orton, No. 25 battle for the jump ball to begin the game. Orton had a game high 27 points to lead Gilford to a 55-35 win in the opening round of the playoffs over Berlin. (JEAN LEBLANC PHOTO)

Both teams played very well over the first three minutes of the game with the score dead locked at 4-4. Over the final five minutes of the quarter, the visitors went on a 12-2 run to lead 16-6 after one quarter. Gilford's Olivia Harris and Lauren Dean had five points each, shooting from the outside, while Orton had a couple hoops on the interior to pace the offense. The Mounties got single hoops from three different players.

Gilford looked to blow the game wide open in the second quarter. The Mountaineers struggled offensively, not converting their outside shots. Late in the quarter, Berlin senior Emily Theriault caught fire from long range, knocking down three, three pointers. At the break, Gilford was in control 29-17. Orton was having her way in the paint adding four more hoops to her growing total. Theriault kept the Mounties hopes on life support netting nine of Berlin's 11 points in the second session.

Gilford's Orton put the throttle down in the third quarter, helping the Eagles out point the Mountaineers 13-4 to take a commanding lead 42-21 with just eight minutes to play. Orton had five hoops in the quarter and her exclamation mark came as she buried a three-pointer at the buzzer for the 21 point lead. Senior Myra Arsenault and freshman Kaylee Peare had the two hoops for the home team.

The Eagles refused to let Berlin get any closer that 17 points in the final quarter. Orton continued her stellar play, finding the open player when Berlin attempted to double team her. Kaitlyn VanBennekum was the recipient of the Orton feeds in the paint as she tallied five points to lead Gilford in the final quarter. Arsenault made her last quarter her best for the Mounties. The senior captain had nine points in the session before the final horn ended the Mounties' season.

For the game, Gilford had 23 field goals from the floor and shot 5-7 from the foul line. Orton was by far the best player on the floor, knocking down 27 markers. Berlin had just fourteen field goals from the floor and was 2-2 from the free throw line. Theriault 12 and Arsenault 11 points led the Berlin offense.

Gilford  16 13 13 13   55

Berlin   06 11 04 14   35