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SHIRLEY — Ayer-Shirley’s Taylor Wright sank a pair of free throws with nine seconds left to lift the Lady Panthers to an exciting 39-37 win over Nissitissit on Monday afternoon. The clutch free throws capped a sensational effort by Wright, who finished with 22 points, 12 rebounds and three steals for the Lady Panthers, who rallied from a 17-point third quarter deficit with a brilliant comeback.

Nissitissit jumped out quickly with a fast break lay-up by Shalee Callahan (11 points, five rebounds, five steals), and two baskets by Emily Flavin (six points, five rebounds, three steals) to take a 6-0 lead.

Ayer-Shirley fought back over the rest of the first quarter, keyed by five points by Wright, and cut the lead to 8-7 after seven minutes

Nissitissit, which made 26 steals in the contest, used its ballhawking to continue to add to the lead. Hannah Gouldrup (nine points, four rebounds, five steals) hit a 17-footer and a turnaround jumper to extend the lead to 13-7, en route to taking a 16-9 advantage to halftime. Nissitissit players did an outstanding job of anticipating Ayer-Shirley passes and clogging the passing lanes.

The visitors appeared to have landed a knockout punch in the third quarter. After Ayer-Shirley’s Brittany Gibbons (six points, five steals) opened the second half by finishing off a drive, Nissitissit cranked up the defensive intensity and scored 12 unanswered points to build a commanding 28-12 advantage. Callahan was the catalyst of the spurt with three free throws and a steal that she converted into a lay-up. Riley Walsh, Ally Lynch and Flavin also played well and contributed to the run.

Trailing by 17 points midway through the third quarter, Ayer-Shirley answered with its own spurt (11-2) to close to within a more manageable 30-22 after three quarters. Wright scored eight of the points.

The Lady Panthers continued to draw closer with strong play at both ends of the court. Samantha Piecewicz converted after grabbing an offensive rebound, and Gibbons hit a lay-up to make it 32-26.

After Callahan rebuilt the lead to six with a strong drive, a lay-up by Young off a nice pass from Gibbons, and four free throws by Wright tied the game at 32-32.

Juliana Woolridge (three points, five rebounds, three steals) put the visitors on top by three points with a free throw and a follow-up basket, but the Lady Panthers drew even on a conventional three-point play by Wright.

Callahan put Nissitissit on top with a 15-footer, before Gibbons finished off a fast break to again tie the game, setting the stage for Wright’s game winners.