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Lady Pats can’t size up St. Bernard’s

‘Turnovers killed us in the game, but we kept making an effort to come back and fought right to the end.’ – Pat Murphy, North Middlesex girls basketball coach


St. Bernard’s 53

North Middlesex 36

By Ken Blanchette

TOWNSEND — The North Middlesex girls basketball team drew a very tough assignment in their season-opener on Tuesday night, hosting a very strong, big and experienced St. Bernard’s team. The Lady Pats showed a lot of heart, and battled until the final whistle, but the Bernardians owned too many advantages and posted a 53-36 win.

The Bernardians are primed for big things this season, and their experience (nine seniors) and size wore North Middlesex down in the second half.

North Middlesex committed 30 turnovers in the game, including ten in the first six minutes when they fell behind 10-4. But the Lady Pats played strong defense and hung tough. Playing well defensively for North Middlesex were Katie Hayward, Christine Kelleher, Kara Tansey and Erica Ryan.

Trailing 14-8 with seven minutes remaining in the first half, North Middlesex held the Bernardians scoreless for five minutes and climbed back into the game. Tracey Ericson hit a 15-footer, and Erin Johnson and Sarah Thonis followed with free throws to make it a 14-12 game with three minutes left.

The Lady Pats did a solid job off the backboards over the first 16 minutes, holding a 14-13 rebounding edge over the taller Bernardians.

St. Bernard’s started quickly in the second half, Marek Hunter hitting a lay-up, before Lauren LaRoche buried a 17-footer. After Jess Schoorens hit a free throw to draw North Middlesex to within 22-14, Hunter provided the Bernardians with their first double digit lead of the game with another lay-up.

The Bernardians started to use their size to advantage as Hunter (nine points, six rebounds) and Feroleto (ten points, ten rebounds) started to dominate, complemented by the outside work of Lauren LaRoche, whose three-pointer made it 27-16 with 12:30 left in the game.

Hayward answered back by draining a three-pointer, but St. Bernard’s bounced back with two free throws by Lauren LaRoche and a drive by Siobhan Shields (eight points, three rebounds) to make it 31-19.

The Bernardians bounced back with five consecutive points, building the lead to 15 at 36-21 when Feroleto finished off a fast break, but the Lady Pats showed some resolve and put together a 7-2 run to again draw to within ten. Beth Clark and Angie Johnson hit 15-footers before Ryan’s long three-pointer made it 38-28 with eight minutes left.

St. Bernard’s re-grouped and put the game on ice with a 7-0 run to build a 17 point lead with five minutes left.

North Middlesex battled on even terms the rest of the way, getting a strong offensive effort from Angie Johnson, who led them with 11 points.

The Bernardians held a slim 29-26 edge off the boards in the game, but used their athleticism and size to earn 30 trips to the free throw line, making 18. North Middlesex finished four of eight from the free throw line.

Sarah Thonis finished with three points and five rebounds for North Middlesex, while Ericson added two points and six rebounds. Hayward added five points and three rebounds.

Lauren LaRoche finished with seven points for the Bernardians while point guard Amanda Grammel ran the offense superbly and added six points and three rebounds.

“I wasn’t sure coming into this game, but because of how hard we worked and the way we never quit, I feel a lot better,” said Murphy.