FRANKLIN — All Julie Cafferty needed for motivation for her Tri-County Regional High girls’ basketball team was to point to the scoreboard at halftime of the Cougars’ Mayflower League game with Old Colony Regional on Monday.
The Cougars had scored merely 19 points through the first 16 minutes of action. With the memory of a 20-point loss at Old Colony earlier this season, the Cougars then jump-started their way to a 41-21 conquest with a 16-point third quarter.
“I’ve never seen them shoot like that before,” Cafferty said of her Cougars, who were coming off of a dismal 4-for-15 shooting showing in the first quarter and a 3-for-15 mark in the second quarter.
“I mean, we were getting shots, but just not putting them in the hoop.”
The Cougars still created good looks at the basket, but in the third quarter, shot 7-for-13, reeling off 17 unanswered points in one stretch to take a 35-15 lead into the fourth quarter.
Senior Abby DiFloures scored eight of her 16 points in that session, while junior Cam Schweitzer hauled in four of her 17 rebounds and senior guard Jena Johnson dished out three assists.
Sophomore Meghan O’Shaughnessy played an important role by blanketing Old Colony’s premier player Savannah Halle in the Cougars’ box-and-one defensive scheme. Halle was limited to one first quarter field goal and three points.
Tri-County improved to 5-3 on the season and 5-0 on its home court.
“They beat us pretty good down there,” Cafferty said.
This time, the Cougars’ defense was more impactful. Old Colony shot just 1-for-12 from the floor in a three-point second quarter, being scoreless from the floor for a span of nearly 10 minutes in the first half.
Tri-County continued to limit good looks at the basket and second chance opportunities by Old Colony during third quarter, the visitors shooting just 1-for-11 in the session.
Tri-County owned a 24-15 lead with just under five minutes left in the third quarter and proceeded to reel off 11 straight points, six from the hand of DiFloures with a trifecta from freshman Amy Freitas and O’Shaughnessy finishing off a Johnson feed.
The Cougars then scored the first six points of the fourth quarter with Johnson nailing a 3-pointer off of a Freitas pass and Schweitzer (12 first half rebounds, 11 points) converting an offensive rebound into two more points.
The Cougars forced 20 Old Colony turnovers with seven rebounds by Johnson, six rebounds by Freitas and three rebounds, two steals and two points by junior Sam Belskis in the fourth quarter.
“Halle has been their (Old Colony) best player for a couple of years now,” Cafferty added. “Our defense has been pretty good and we’re getting better as a team.”
BOYS Old Colony 63, Tri-County 46
ROCHESTER — Tri-County led 15-13 after the first quarter, but was outscored 21-8 in the second quarter to trail 34-23 at halftime in a game where the Cougars shot under 20 percent from the floor.
Senior captain Tyler Saunders led the Cougars (4-5) with eight points.
Tri-County is at Brisol Aggie Wednesday.