BRIDGEWATER, NJ – In their last game before the opening round of the 2020 Somerset County Girls Basketball Tournament, Bridgewater-Raritan put up a strong defensive effort against Warren Hills and led 11-10 after one period.
But 15 points and 20 rebounds from Blue Streaks forward Advika Thandoni led all scorers, and Warren Hills (17-6) held the Lady Panthers (7-16) to 17 points the rest of the way in a defensive battle on the way to a 43-28 win at Bridgewater-Raritan.
Thandoni opened the game’s scoring 1:20 into the contest with a jumper and the first of her two opening-period field goals. Bridgewater-Raritan’s Madison Bray then got the Lady Panthers on the board just under three minutes into the game before Blue Streaks guard Heather Laffan connected from long range to put Warren Hills up 5-2 with 5:05 left in the first quarter. Bray then answered from downtown to tie game just under halfway into the period before Warren Hills’ Meghan Dufner hit a pair of free throws to put the Blue Streaks up 7-5 with 3:58 left in the period.
Bridgewater-Raritan guard Jackie Salvatore then hit from downtown to give the Lady Panthers their second three-pointer of the first quarter with 2:36 left in the period. With Bridgewater-Raritan up 8-7 at this point, Thandoni’s second bucket of the opening quarter along with a steal and a split pair of free throws by Dufner put the Blue Streaks up by two late in the quarter. But Salvatore hit a three-pointer in the closing seconds of the first quarter to give the home team an 11-10 over Warren Hills.
In a low-scoring second quarter, Madelyn Morgan and Thandoni scored the only points for Warren Hills and for either team in the first five minutes of the period. But equally good defense by Bridgewater-Raritan kept the Lady Panthers in it, and a three-pointer by Danielle Orecchio with just over two minutes left in the period tied the game at 14-14. This was the Lady Panthers’ first and only field goal of the second quarter, and while Warren Hills scored the final five points of the half from there, Bridgewater-Raritan only trailed 19-14 at the break.
The Blue Streaks then scored six straight points out of the locker room on two more field goals by Thandoni and one more on a coast-to-coast layup by Laffan, giving Warren Hills a 25-14 lead with 3:40 left in the third quarter. Corinne Nickel then got Bridgewater-Raritan on the board just under a minute later to begin a quick 7-1 burst by the Lady Panthers. With Warren Hills’ lead now down to 26-21 with just under a minute left in the third quarter, a split pair of free throws by Jaelynn Miller and a putback of the missed free throw by Erin Carroll extended the Blue Streaks’ lead to 29-21 heading into the final quarter.
Thandoni scored the last of her 15 points on a split pair of free throws with 4:02 to go to put Warren Hills back up by 10, but she then put one in from under the basket on an inbound pass shortly afterwards.
Unfortunately for Warren Hills, the basket was made on the wrong side of the court.
While this instead gave Bridgewater-Raritan two points and a 33-25 deficit with 3:30 to go, Thandoni and her fellow teammates laughed it off and quickly made up for it.
Warren Hills closed out the game on a 10-3 run from there, as Thandoni grabbed her 20th rebound on top of her game-high 15 points to cap off a dominating performance. Warren Hills held Bridgewater-Raritan to one field goal in this span and ultimately won the contest by a final score of 43-28.
Salvatore led Bridgewater-Raritan with 10 points on the night.
Warren Hills 43, Bridgewater-Raritan 28
Warren Hills: Q1- 10; Q2- 9; Q3- 10; Q4- 14; TOTAL- 43
- Advika Thandoni - 15 points, 20 rebounds
- Heather Laffan - 8 points
- Erin Carroll - 6 points
- Jaelynn Miller - 5 points
- Madelyn Morgan - 4 points
- Meghan Dufner - 3 points
- Brynn Smith - 2 points
Bridgewater-Raritan: Q1- 11; Q2- 3; Q3- 7; Q4- 7; TOTAL- 28
- Jackie Salvatore- 10 points
- Madison Bray- 7 points
- Danielle Orecchio- 6 points
- Sanemi Nair- 3 points
- Corinne Nickel- 2 points
Bridgewater-Raritan (7-16) will open the 2020 Somerset County Tournament with a first-round home matchup Feb. 20. The #10 Lady Panthers will host #15 Bernards (3-19) in the first round. Tip against the Lady Mountaineers will take place at 5 p.m. at Bridgewater-Raritan High School.
Coincidentally, the Bridgewater-Raritan Boys will also face Bernards in the first round of their 2020 Somerset County tournament. The #13-seeded Boys will travel to the #12-seeded Bernards Boys in the first round also Feb. 20 with a tip time of 7 p.m.
The Lady Panthers were also seeded #10 in the 2020 State Tournament in the North 2 Group 4 sectional bracket, and will open the postseason at #7 Elizabeth (15-7) at 4:15 p.m. March 3. Before then, the Lady Panthers will face Bound Brook at home on in a regular-season contest Feb. 27.
For detailed Bridgewater-Raritan Panthers Athletics schedules and game locations, please see https://bridgewaterraritanhighschool.bigteams.com/.
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