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‘They attacked the basket and that was the key to the game.’ – Pat Murphy, North MIddlesex girls basketball coach

Wachusett 45

North Middlesex 30

TOWNSEND — Often times the edge in athletic contest goes to the aggressor, and such was the case on Thursday night when Wachusett beat North Middlesex 45-30.

Most of the stats were similar between the two teams, but one jumped out – Wachusett’s 29-4 edge in free throws taken. That edge came from persistent drives to the basket and solid work in the paint for the Mountaineers, while the Lady Pats stayed on the perimeter throughout.

“Wachusett created their free throws with their aggressiveness,” said North Middlesex coach Pat Murphy. “They attacked the basket and that was the key to the game.”

Wachusett appeared ready to blow the Lady Pats out of the gymnasium in the early going, building a 10-0 lead over the first 4:15. The Mountaineers played tough man-to-man defense and made it tough for the Lady Pats to get quality shots. Lisa Wilson (15 points, six rebounds) paced the early spurt with six points, while Nicole Lavallee and Courtney Macaruso each chipped in with a basket.

North Middlesex finally got on the board five minutes in when Erica Ryan drained a 15-footer.

The Lady Pats struggled to get back on transition defense and Wachusett took advantage by scoring some easy baskets. When Wilson finished off a fast break with a lay-up, North Middlesex called timeout with 7:57 left in the first half trailing 18-9.

The first six minutes of the second half was a tug-of-war.

Wachusett opened up the lead to ten at 25-15 when Wilson scored on a drive and a fast break lay-up to start the second half, but Thonis buried a 17-footer, and Schoorens hit a short jumper to draw the Lady Pats to within six.

The Mountaineers bounced right back with six consecutive points, four by Sarah Borchelt, to move ahead 31-19, but back came North Middlesex. Angie Johnson hit a 17-footer, Schoorens scored after grabbing an offensive rebound, and Katie Hayward nailed a medium-range jumper to make it 31-25 with just under ten minutes left.

The pattern continued as Wachusett bounced right back with two free throws by Jackie Long, a Wilson 15-footer, and a free throw by Borchelt to move in front 36-25 with 6:20 left.

Taylor Murphy sliced the lead to single digits with a 10-foot jumper, but those would be the only points North Middlesex would score over a six minute span. Wachusett tacked on seven consecutive points to move on top 43-27 and put the game on ice.

“We were able to answer back early in the half but we just couldn’t pull the ball into the basket in the decisive run,” said Murphy. “Give Wachusett credit, they were aggressive, but I thought that our girls played hard too. We played much better transition defense in the second half.”

Borchelt finished with nine points and four rebounds for the Mountaineers, while Lavallee added six points, and Macaruso four points and eight rebounds.

Hayward scored seven points for the Lady Pats. Schoorens (five rebounds) and Ryan (three rebounds) each added four points.

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