SUDBURY, Mass. -– For the second game in a row, Lincoln-Sudbury girls' basketball came up short, as Newton North stunned the Warriors, 53-40, and earned their first victory of the season.
“Being that we are a young team, starting off strong is really important, and keeping our positivity up, so it’s great that we came out strong, and had a good first win,” said Newton North sophomore Infiniti Thomas.
Despite trailing L-S (0-2) for most of the first and second quarters, Newton North rallied during the closing minutes of the first half, as junior Madison Beatrice (14 points, three assists, two rebounds) sank a three-pointer, which propelled the Tigers to tally an additional six more points before intermission.
“We were a little bit tight in the first quarter, but we took very good shots, [and] they just didn’t fall for us," North head coach Linda Martindale said. "And by the second quarter, I feel like we loosened up, and some balls went in for us and gave us a little bit of momentum going into the second half."
The Tigers (1-0) extended their lead during the opening minutes of the third quarter, as Thomas (14 points, five rebounds) and junior Jillian Doherty capitalized on back-to-back turnovers, which helped Newton North earn their largest lead of the game.
“[The] second half was much better [for our team],” said Thomas. “We started working [together by] passing the ball around [and finding open shots].”
L-S’ offense eventually recovered from their sluggish start, as junior Ashley Lutz, (16 points, five rebounds) and freshman Kristen Ngan (eight points) recorded back-to-back three-pointers.
However, those two baskets didn’t provide the necessary spark the Warriors needed, as L-S missed a handful of lay-ups and shots inside the arc, which helped Newton North regrow their lead, and preserve the victory.
Martindale earns first victory with Tigers: Tuesday’s win marked the first official at Newton North for Martindale, who previously coached at Weston and also served as an assistant under Feldman. Martindale was quite pleased with her team’s performance against a quality non-conference foe.
“It feels great. It feels great to win a game on defense [too],” she said.
Martindale also believes that a win against L-S should help boost the moral of her team, especially against Bay State Conference opponents.
“I think holding a team to 13 shots in the second half is unbelievable. It lets us believe that we can play against anybody,” said Martindale.
Impact of the Tiger defense: Newton North played solid defense during the final 16 minutes, limiting the Warriors to just 13 shots and 14 points.
“Our plan was to win on defense because offensively, we’re still trying to feel each other out,” said Martindale. “We knew we had to win with defense, and we did.
“We were able to maintain the momentum by letting our defense lead our offense."
Learning From Mistakes: It hasn’t exactly been the easiest past few days for L-S, which will have roughly one week off until their next contest against conference foe Waltham. Yet, against Newton North, head coach Liza Feldman and Lutz felt this game was an important learning experience that’ll help them for the remainder of the season.
“I’m not worried with a young team necessarily about wins and losses. We can’t focus on only that,” said Feldman. “I think there was other things we could have controlled rather than the score that we didn’t, and those are the things we’re going to work on,” said Feldman.
“I think it was a pretty good learning experience. We’re a really young team, and I think a lot of the players past two games, even though we haven’t won, a lot of the new players, lot of the old players [have] learned to work together, and we’ve done great stuff as a team, so I think it’s going to be a matter of pulling [it] all together,” said Lutz.
L-S was whistled numerous times for traveling on offense, as well as in during the transition too, but according to Lutz, she thinks these early mistakes will only help her teammates get better.
“We’re getting better, and that’s the important thing,” she said.