Coutu powers Barrington girls to playoff victory

Eagles advance to play N. Kingstown Thursday

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Led by 17 points from Grace Coutu, the Barrington High School girls’ basketball team defeated Portsmouth 48-30 in the quarterfinals of the D-I playoffs Tuesday night, Feb. 28, at BHS.

In the first half, both teams struggled to score as the Eagles went into the locker room with an 18-8 lead. In the second half, Coutu scored nine of her points and countless rebounds — she finished with 23 boards — as Barrington soared to a 48-30 victory, advancing to the semifinals on Thursday.

“First of all, Grace Coutu controlled the paint tonight,” said Barrington head coach Stephen Lenz. “Anyone who doubts that she is a first-team All Stater needs to come and watch this game because I think she had 15 rebounds in the first half alone. That team is very talented and we had to defend hard tonight for that score to be what it was.”

To start the game, Barrington got off to a fast start with four players all scoring points early to give the Eagles an 8-1 lead.

As the game progressed, both teams struggled offensively, but Barrington’s Andrea Kubas-Meyer broke a long drought and scored on a drive before delivering a great pass on the next possession to increase the Eagles' lead to 14-2.

Another two minutes went by before another made field-goal as Portsmouth’s Kylie Swider laid it in to set the score at 14-4 as the sophomore center continued to account for all of the Patriots’ points.

“She always brings everything she’s got,” Portsmouth head coach Richard Glover said. “She really plays hard.”

As the half came to a close, Barrington got two more points from Elizabeth Hutchings as Portsmouth continued to watch Swider score all of their points. The Eagles went into the half with an 18-8 lead.

“We missed a whole bunch of layups and I look at the score and I am like, ‘this is unbelievable defense,” Coach Lenz said.

After the break in action the Eagles continued to dominate, including Glory Ellison scoring on a fast break and free throws that put Barrington up 24-12. Meanwhile, Swider led the way for the Patriots as she still accounted for 10 of the visitors’ points.

As the offense picked up, so did the physicality of the game. Barrington eventually pushed the score to 32-17 and forced Portsmouth to call a timeout.

The Patriots proceeded to see one of their leading scorers, Alexis Greffen, score six points in a row, but the Eagles responded with a three-pointer from Olivia Middleton that set Barrington’s lead at 35-21.

In front of their home fans, Barrington’s lead only grew as Coutu heated up with seven points of her own that was part of a 10-0 run that upped the Eagles’ lead to 45-21.

Portsmouth continued to fight as Mary Stack scored her first bucket of the night and Grefffen put in two more, but Middleton responded for the Eagles to help maintain a 48-28 lead with just over a minute remaining.

That was all the first-seeded Eagles needed to defeat Portsmouth as they went onto win 48-30 to advance to the semifinals.

“Barrington played great defense and we shot 3-28 in the first half which is a bad combination,” Coach Glover said. “They won the first and second half.”

The Patriots are now officially eliminated from qualifying for the open state tournament after they finished the season on a 7-4 run.

“I am disappointed that we didn’t make the open tournament, but I think we lost to the best team in the state,” Coach Glover said.

Meanwhile, Barrington advances to face the only team they lost to this season, North Kingstown, in the semifinals Thursday, March 2 at RIC with tip-off set for 6 p.m.

“They present some challenges for us, but I'd rather be in the position of trying to solve these challenges than be at home right now,” Coach Lenz. “We are excited for the rematch. They are a great team that is well coached. ”

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.