By Michael Davidson
LOWELL/ANDOVER -- The Hawthorne Brook Middle School girls basketball team placed second in the 8th-grade "B" Division in the Fundamental Hoops Holiday Christmas Tournament, held at the UMass Lowell Recreation Center and Andover High School on Dec. 26 and 29.
The Lady Bears defeated Methuen, 30-18, and North Andover, 38-20, in pool play to finish 2-0 and advance to the semifinals. In the semifinal round, Hawthorne downed Stoneham, 45-28, earning a spot in the championship game against Central Mass. neighbor Lunenburg.
The back-and-forth championship game went to Lunenburg, 48-42, ending Hawthorne Brook's tournament run with a strong second-place showing in the 180-team tournament.
Hawthorne's Six-foot-two eighth grade center Erin Antosh, had a monster tournament, amassing 82 points in the four games, including 27 in the semifinal and 23 in the championship game.
In the championship game against Lunenburg, Hawthorne held a slim 18-15 lead and later led by as many as seven midway through the second half. Lunenburg stormed back with six minutes left to take its first lead of the game at 38-37.
Lunenburg then nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to take a 44-37 lead, but Hawthorne was not done yet. Led by Antosh and eighth-grade point guard McKensie MacDonald, who pitched in 12 second half points. The Lady Bears pulled back to within two at 44-42 with about a minute left
Hawthorne, however, would not score again as Lunenburg secured the win.
MacDonald finished the tournament with 25 points, including five 3-pointers, and seventh grade guard Kelly Gearin had 24 points in the four games. Fellow seventh grader, Molly O'Neil chipped in with 18 points, including an 11-point effort against. North Andover.
Hawthorne Brook enters 2013 with a 7-1 overall record (4-0 in league games).