Windham girls win streak snapped on the road at Lebanon
With another comfortable win at home, this time over Plymouth Regional, the Jaguars girls basketball squad extended its win streak to five straight. Head coach Joe Mason’s team was 7-2 this winter, and sitting near the top of the Division II standings.
But they had a game on the schedule that had Mason concerned – at undefeated Lebanon, which he said has perennially been one of the best programs in the state. Lebanon snapped the streak, and in convincing fashion, by a score of 60-37.
“They’re probably the cream of the crop in our Division,” Mason said. “They’ve been to the finals or the final four, I think, 10 years in a row. They’re just an amazing team. They’ve got some dynamic players, they’re well coached.”
After the Plymouth Regional game, Mason was pleased with his squad’s performance.
“We came out early and played really well, then we had some lulls,” Mason said of the Plymouth Regional game. “Halfway through the third quarter, we continued to play good defense and talked and did a bunch of little things. The results were pretty good.”
The Jaguars dominated from the onset. Even with a Bobcats scoring run toward the end of the second quarter and into the third quarter, Windham held a 30-16 at halftime and a 49-28 by the end of the third.
On the offensive side, Mason’s squad continually got easy looks. From the post to their mid-range game, and on the perimeter, the Jaguars got and often made open shots.
“We did a good job of looking in the post,” Mason said. “We’re not a very tall team… we did a good job tonight of getting good positioning, and when we had our opportunities in the second half, I thought we did a very good job of finishing them, as opposed to the first half where we left a lot of layups on the court.”
For Mason, the practice time they’ve centered on defense has been paying off. The Jaguars forced the Bobcats to take difficult shots all game.
“We work really hard every day on defense and what we want to do defensively,” Mason said. “Today, I thought all our players who got in the game, which was everyone, did a really good job of communicating on defense, being on the help sideline, pressuring the ball – I just thought we played a really solid game defensively.”
But with the tough shots Windham forced, Plymouth exposed a lengthy list of weaknesses Mason said his team needs to work on.
“We gave up a lot of offensive boards,” Mason said. “We’ve got to get better at talking on defense, we’ve got to get better at executing our offense. We’ve got to do a better job of identifying shooters early and closing out on them properly. When people come off the bench, we’ve got to do a better job of communicating what we’re in, and that starts with the coach as well as the players.”
Before the Lebanon game, Windham’s only loss was to Goffstown on Dec. 14, 42-37, in the third game of the season. The Grizzlies are 8-1, and their only loss was by five to Pelham – a team the Jaguars beat on the road, 54-45.
Aside from their 7-2 record in regular-season, Division II games, Windham got extra contests in during a Christmas tournament. The Jaguars played teams from Division I. They lost to Merrimack and Alvirne, but beat Nashua North, which is atop the Division I standings with a perfect 9-0 record.
“The Christmas Tournament was very useful for us because we played a lot of Division I teams to help us get ready for the rest of our season,” Mason said.