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Ayer’s balancing act holds off Bromfield rally

Ayer 47

Bromfield 41

AYER — On Friday night, Bromfield had the best player on the court, but Ayer had the better team. As a result, the Lady Panthers held off the Lady Trojans and Lindsey Burke 47-41 in a MidWach D encounter.

Burke was sensational, scoring 23 points, grabbing 19 rebounds and making three steals, but Ayer’s balance allowed them to win their fifth game without a loss. Amanda Carlson paced the victory with 15 points, four rebounds and four steals, but had plenty of help. Olivia Shultz (eight rebounds, two steals) and Katy Salka each added ten points while Taeler Connor chipped in with eight points, four rebounds and three steals.

“The early turnovers killed us and we just gave the ball away too much,” said Hill. “Lindsey Burke was very aggressive and played a great game for us. We made a nice comeback to get within two points late in the game and we played some intense defense, but our offense is still too tentative.”

The teams owned edges in different categories as Bromfield dominated off the boards with a 37-23 rebounding edge, and were 15-22 from the free throw line, compared to 8-17 for Ayer. Ayer picked up 14 steals in the game, compared to seven for Bromfield, but the key to the game was turnovers – Ayer finishing with 14 while Bromfield had 30.

Bromfield did a solid job of controlling the pace of the game, not allowing Ayer to get their running game into gear, but the Lady Trojans continued to turn the ball over and the Lady Panthers put together seven consecutive points to create some breathing room.

Burke hit a pair of free throws to make it 17-12, but Ayer put together a 9-0 run to pull ahead 26-12. Shultz, Connor and Carlson hit medium-range jumpers before Salka drained a three-pointer.

Morgan Smith beat the buzzer with a lay-up to make it 26-14 heading to intermission.

The halftime lead varied little over the first eight minutes of the second half, and the Lady Panthers appeared to be in control when Connor converted a steal into a lay-up to make it 39-26 with 7:33 left in the game.

After a timeout, Bromfield put together an 8-2 run to climb to within 41-34 and force an Ayer timeout with 2:37 left. Burke came up big in the paint with six points, before Lydia Maurer (seven points, three rebounds) hit a tough jumper.

Connor added a point to the lead with a free throw, but the Lady Trojans kept coming. Henley Siegrist and Rebecca Reusch sandwiched 15-footers around a pair of Burke free throws and suddenly it was 42-40 with a minute to go.

Bromfield had possession of the ball with a chance to tie, but Salka came up with a big steal. She was fouled and hit two free throws to make it a two possession game. Carlson built the lead to five with a free throw, before Toya Chester (four points, three rebounds, two steals) sealed the deal with a pair of freebies.

“We fell asleep in the second half, but we will learn from this,” said Noonan.

Siegrist had four points and three rebounds for Bromfield while Reusch finished with three points and six rebounds. The Lady Trojans are now 2-3.

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