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The Guilford girls' basketball team concluded 2013 by opening its SCC Hammonasset Division slate with a 36-27 victory at Foran on Dec. 30 to improve the Indians' mark to 3-3.
Guilford shot only 5-of-35 from the floor in the opening half, but Head Coach Bob Welsh and Guilford played a very aggressive man-to-man defense and extended it into the full court during the third, giving the Indians an eight-point lead after three frames as they held on for the win.
Presley Altieri led the way with 13 points and sparked a third quarter run with seven points in the frame. Meredith Shank got into the act by scoring nine points and Tori Loukakes chipped in with seven points, six rebounds, and two steals. while Nikki Basilicato did not tally any points, she hauled down a game-high nine boards with two steals and two blocks, leading a tenacious defensive effort, according to Welsh.
"The good news is that we got off that many shots and are beginning to look to attack the basket with more assertiveness. The key now is to get some of the shots to fall," said Welsh. "Any time you grab a win on the road in the competitive SCC, you feel fortunate. We need to get back in the gym and start shooting."
Before that contest, Guilford traveled to Rocky Hill on Dec. 27 and took a 32-28 loss.
Despite a defensive effort throughout and an 18-11 halftime lead for Guilford, the Terriers employed a defense that shut the Indians down. Guilford held a seven-point lead at the half, yet it shot 8-of-35 from the floor.
The Indians were paced by Loukakes' 14 points and six rebounds, as Welsh added that Guilford struggled in the second half, committing too many turnovers in the open court and not setting up the offense.
"We need to do a much better job of taking care of the basketball and running our offense with more poise," said Welsh. "Credit Rocky Hill with a fine defensive performance, but our kids have to do a better job of creating good shots and stroking the ball with more confidence."
Nine days prior, the Indians suffered a rough 61-34 loss at Amity on Dec. 18. The Spartans opened up with a 14-3 run, and Guilford never recovered. Loukakes topped the Indians with nine points.
Yet Guilford was able to go into the Christmas break on a high note in an impressive 55-35 victory over East Haven at home on Dec. 20. The Indians began with an 18-3 edge after the first quarter, capped off by Altieri's three-pointer at the horn. East Haven never responded, and Welsh was able to go to the bench often and get contributions from a plethora of players.
Altieri led the Indians with nine points, siblings Sam and Meredith Shank each chipped in with seven. Loukakes filled the stat sheet with seven points, six rebounds, and five assists for a Guilford squad that shot a scorching 50 percent from the field en route to a season-high 55-point outburst.
"We had a chance to regroup Thursday, viewed some game film, and had a productive practice preparing for East Haven," said Welsh. "We came out of the shoot with a vengeance."