LEOMINSTER — On one of the hottest days on the summer, the Ayer-Shirley girls basketball team got off to their hottest start of the summer. The Lady Panthers sprinted out to a 23-5 lead midway through the first half en route to an easy 48-29 victory over Parker in Sky View Summer League action on Wednesday night.
From the opening tip, Ayer-Shirley seized control of the game, using a great inside-outside game to hold the lead throughout. Josie Dearborn was the catalyst, coming off the bench to score a game-high 23 points to go with four rebounds. Gabby Hebert was strong inside, finishing with 13 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals and four blocked shots in the win.
The Lady Panthers attack early and often, running out to an 18-point lead after 12 minutes of play. Dearborn found the range early, knocking down four jumpers ranging from 10 to 18 feet while Hebert added six points on a trio of five-foot jumpers as Ayer-Shirley took a 23-5 lead.
After digging themselves an early hole, Parker started to claw their way back with a 14-4 run to cut the lead to double digits. Ally McNulty got things rolling with a three-pointer and pair of free throws while Grace Dugan came off the bench to add a pair of lay-ups. When Page Senatore connected on a lay-up of her own, the advantage was cut to eight at 27-19 before the Lady Panthers scored the last four points to make it 31-19 at the half.
In the second half, neither team could find the range as there wasn’t a point scored over the first 8:05 of play. Hebert finally broke the ice with a steal and lay-up that kicked off a 9-2 Ayer-Shirley run. Dearborn hit for a single free throw and 18-foot jumper while Hebert added an offensive rebound and put back to push the lead to 19 at 40-21.
Parker came up with four quick points to get within 15, but the Lady Panthers put the game away with eight consecutive points. Sydney Brinkerhoff knocked down a 15-foot jumper and a 12-foot jumper while Dearborn capped off her big night with a 17-foot jumper and a lay-up off an Emily Megan feed to make it 48-25 before settling for the 19-point win.
In addition to Dearborn and Hebert, Brinkerhoff (eight rebounds) and Emily Goodman (two steals) finished with four points apiece. Olivia Warlia (nine boards and four assists) and Megan (four rebounds, eight assists and three steals) chipped in two points each.
McNulty paced Parker with 10 points, 15 rebounds and two blocked shots. Tate Jordan finished with seven points, six boards, four steals and two blocks while Dugan contributed six points and eight rebounds.