Down but not out, the wounded Bears weathered a relentless first half storm from the Bearcats of Hotchkiss and went on to win by 10 thanks to a fanatical press that lead to a frenzy of turnovers late in the second half. After scoring only 11 points in the first 16 minutes and playing less than stellar basketball, the Bears overcame an 18 point deficit to seal another significant win over a Class A playoff contender. The turnaround was sparked by Berkshire’s intense full-court press and big plays by co-captain Olivia Smith ’14 and Keunna Dill ’14. The Bears never looked back after taking the lead with 4:40 left, and the game ended with a score of 52-42.
In the first half, Hotchkiss was energetic, ran the floor, and made shots – all of which Berkshire failed to do. But after falling behind by what seemed like an insurmountable deficit, the Bears stopped being passive and started playing courageous, team basketball. Kristalyn Baisden ’15, Hannah Cooke ‘14 and Dill all hit huge 3-pointers and made it nearly impossible for the Hotchkiss guards to make it past half court thanks to their full-court pressure defense. Dill, though she scored only five points, was undoubtedly the game-changer. Reminiscent of last year’s win at Hotchkiss, Dill came off the bench in the second half and catalyzed the Bears’ comeback. Samone DeFreese ’15 overcame a scoreless first half to finish the game with a double-double (15 points, 12 rebounds) and converted on her shots and free throws when the game was on the line. Cooke also scored in double figures with 13 points, and Baisden finished the game with nine. Cam Biasin ’14 crashed the offensive board hard, and her eight points and nine rebounds helped keep the intensity high for the Bears.
Coach Smith’s halftime adjustments changed the nature of the game, and he was extremely proud of the effort and courage his team demonstrated in the second half. The Bears will look to continue riding the crest of the wave in hopes of drowning the Wild Boars in yet another marquee matchup of Class A contenders when they host Choate Rosemary Hall on Wednesday afternoon.