HARVARD — After not playing well in their season opener, the young Bromfield girls basketball team showed plenty of resolve in their second game. They battled for 32 minutes before dropping a 37-33 decision to a strong and experienced Ayer team.
“The girls came out ready to play tonight,” said Bromfield coach Kate Maki. “Our goal was to now allow Ayer to get big runs and I thought our girls showed mental toughness. Casey Magrath was a floor general and Ali Waterhouse was physical on the inside. This game is a step in the right direction for us.”
Ayer was in cruise control early as they rolled to a 13-2 lead over the first 4:30 of the game. Their defense stymied Bromfield and the offense clicked as Brynnan Farrington and Anna Peck scored four points each, Cathy Comerford drained a three-pointer, and Ally Fillebrown came off the bench to bury a 15-footer.
Bromfield called a timeout and immediately responded. A drive by Katja Lierhaus, followed by a follow-up basket by Susannah Wright cut the lead to seven at 13-6.
Fillebrown hit a three-pointer to rebuild the lead to double digits, before Wright capped the scoring in the quarter with a pair of free throws as Ayer led 16-8 after one quarter.
The start of the second quarter was similar to the first as Bromfield failed to score over the first three minutes, and Ayer padded the lead with six unanswered points. Peck hit a perimeter jumper and two free throws, before Sarah Megan’s 15-footer put the Lady Panthers in charge at 22-8 with five minutes left in the first half.
After that, nothing came easy for the Lady Panthers, who would score only 15 points over the final 21 minutes, allowing the Lady Trojans to remain in striking distance.
Bromfield finished the second quarter with a 6-1 run to draw to within 23-14 at halftime. Wright, who flashed plenty of athleticism in the game, scored four of the points on a 17-footer and a drive, while Casey Magrath added a 17-footer.
The Ayer offense was sluggish over the first four minutes of the third quarter, their only points coming on a Farrington jumper, while Bromfield got drives by Magrath and Hali Burke and a follow-up basket from Montana Burke to close to within 25-20, forcing Ayer to call a timeout with 4:05 left in the third quarter.
The Lady Panthers responded with a lay-up by Farrington and two free throws by Megan to extend the advantage to nine at 29-20.
Bromfield’s Meaghan Bradshaw hit two free throws for the final points of the quarter to cut the lead to seven entering the fourth quarter.
Keyed by Katie Poitras, the Ayer defense dug in over the first three minutes of the fourth quarter and held Bromfield scoreless. Comerford finished off a drive before hauling down an offensive rebound and converting to give the Lady Panthers a 33-22 lead with 4:45 left in the game.
Bromfield wouldn’t go away and fought back into the game. Montana Burke hit a three-pointer, and Magrath finished off a fast break with a lay-up, before a follow-up basket by Ali Waterhouse made it 35-29 with three minutes left.
Neither team was able to score in the next two minutes, but with less than a half a minute to play Magrath’s strong drive made it 35-31.
The Lady Panthers called a timeout with 16 seconds left and Comerford put the game on ice with a pair of free throws.
Farrington led Ayer with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Comerford added nine points, three rebounds and six steals, Peck eight points and seven rebounds, Fillebrown five points and five rebounds, and Megan four points, four rebounds and two steals.
For Bromfield, Magrath led the way with ten points and four steals. Wright finished with eight points and six rebounds, Montana Burke five points, six rebounds and two steals, and Hali Burke four points, four rebounds and two steals. Bromfield outrebounded Ayer 39-34 in the game, led by Katja Lierhaus with eight and Waterhouse with seven.