NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

January 31, 2008

'Step-up game'; Clippers snap two-game skid with win over Lawrence

NEWBURYPORT - It took 3 1/2 quarters for the Newburyport girls basketball team to impose its will on visiting Lawrence last evening.



But the final four minutes proved to be the most important in the Clippers' 55-43 victory.



Newburyport coach Neil Reardon knew the importance of last night's non-league matchup.



"We've struggled recently with our game plan, and we needed a step-up game," explained Reardon. "I think Lawrence was the game. It was a real nice team effort from the starters to the bench."



Multiple Clipper players have battled illnesses over the better part of two weeks leading to a degree of uncertainty for Reardon.



"Practice has been tough," said Reardon. "We've been down a few members so it's been really difficult to scrimmage."



Despite some coughing, the Clippers (7-5) had plenty of energy to press all game, collect steals, and grab offensive rebounds.



"I think the press worked well when we attacked it down the middle," stated Reardon. "We had our hands in the passing lanes, and I think that helped slow them down."



The aforementioned press did waver the Lancer attack. The Clippers nabbed four steals in the first quarter.



Senior captain Kirsten Hadwen (12 points, 6 rebounds, 5 steals and 2 assists) helped push the pace from the get-go by trapping Lancer guards at half-court and deflecting passes. Points in the paint came all game, and the Clippers interior passing helped Newburyport build a five point lead after one quarter, 12-7.



The second quarter saw the Lancers inch even closer due to hustle and inspired bench play by junior guard Alysia Clark (7 points, 4 boards, 2 steals and 2 assists). The Clipper press that worked so well in the first quarter saw fewer turnovers, and a settled Lancer offense swung the ball to nice effect. After a few Clipper turnovers and some 3-pointers by Lancer players Ashleigh Greer (11 points, 2 assists, 2 boards, a block and a steal) and Johelly Hernandez (11 points, 5 boards, 3 blocks and 2 assists) the Lancers skimmed down an eight-point deficit and trailed by four at the break, 24-20.



Sophomore Lindsey Tomasz (16 points, 10 rebounds, 5 steals), who was still shrugging off the team cold, knew the significance of fending homecourt.



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