Lady Trojans’ strong third quarter puts away Littleton


HARVARD — Conventional wisdom indicated that at halftime of Friday night’s game, the Littleton girls basketball team might have had Bromfield right where they wanted them. Coach Rick Hastings substituted at a feverish rate over the first 16 minutes in an effort to trade the present for future gains. As the teams went to halftime, Littleton trailed only 15-11 and seemed to have the advantage of fresher legs in the second half.

So much for conventional wisdom.

Bromfield came out and put the game on ice with a brilliant third quarter, outscoring the visitors 20-4 to open up a commanding 35-15 lead after three quarters, en route to a 46-25 win. The Lady Trojans improved to 13-3, including 7-2 in MidWach D.

“The third quarter was probably our best of the season,” said Bromfield coach Mike Dube. “We switched from a 3-2 zone to a 2-3 zone and our defensive intensity just skyrocketed.”

Hastings set the tone early, having put 12 different players on the court by just 3:30 into the first quarter, but the liberal substituting did little for the Tigers continuity. The visitors scored just two points over the first eight minutes, a lay-up by Kristen Smith that put them on top 2-0.

Bromfield bounced back, tying the game on a pair of free throws by Katja Lierhaus, who finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.

Suzanne Ross (10 points, 11 rebounds) hit a lay-up after taking a pass from Casey Magrath to put the Lady Trojans on top for good at 4-2. Before the quarter was over, Montana Burke (13 points, six rebounds) hit a 17-footer and drained a three-pointer to extend the advantage to 9-2 entering the second period.

Both teams struggled offensively in the first quarter, Littleton connecting on only one of 11 shots while Bromfield was 3-15.

Trailing 11-3, Littleton finished the first half with an 8-4 run to draw to within 15-11 at halftime. Smith (six points) added a pair of lay-ups, the second off a nice pass from Tess Woods, while Vicki Rodgers (five points, seven rebounds) also had a pair of baskets in the spurt.

With the game hanging in the balance entering the third quarter, Lierhaus came up big, blocking the first two Littleton field goal attempts. The teams traded baskets to open the quarter, Ross hauling down an offensive rebound and converted for the Lady Trojans, and Woods (five points, three rebounds) finishing off a drive for the Tigers as Bromfield held a 17-13. At that point, Bromfield exploded, complementing ballhawking defense, strong boardwork and solid offense as they blew the game wide open with a 16-0 run. Littleton called two timeouts during the spurt, but failed to stop the bleeding.

Burke who paced the run with five points, got things started by finishing off a determined drive, before Ross and Lierhaus hit mid-range jumpers. A Ross follow-up basket made it 25-13 and forced Littleton to call its first time-out.

Out of the stoppage of play, Burke drained a long three-pointer and Amy Jorgensen converted after making a steal to extend the advantage to 17 at 30-13, and force another Littleton time-out.

The Bromfield defense, which forced 26 Littleton turnovers in the game, was instrumental in getting the transition game into gear with open-court steals. Magrath (six points, three rebounds, eight steals) pilfered the ball, converted it into a lay-up, and added a free throw for a three-point play as the lead ballooned to 33-13. Bromfield came up with 18 steals as a team in the contest in a solid display of both individual and team defense.

“Casey and Montana did a great job of applying defensive pressure in the backcourt and helped to create turnovers that fueled our offense,” said Dube. “Once again Katja did a great defensive job inside, and Kate Drummey did a nice job off the bench in the second half. Also, our free throw shooting was much better tonight that it sometimes has been.”

Bromfield finished 10-17 from the free throw line in the contest and held a 35-27 advantage off the boards, including 14 at the offensive end. That hard work off the offensive glass either contributed directly to points or prolonged possessions. Freshman Kirsten Sundeen hauled down four rebounds for the Lady Trojans.