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(Byfield MA) “It was a great game, back and forth,” said Lynnfield coach Sue Breen afterwards.
A tie after the first quarter was followed by both teams having a lead in the second quarter. Triton had a tenuous one-point lead going into the final quarter.
In the final quarter, however, the Vikings (5-3) early on combined an effective zone defense with some unanswered offense to take a seven-point lead. Triton never trailed thereafter and secured a, 52-45, win over (1-4) Lynnfield on Sunday afternoon.
The win was special for Triton. “It was Senior Day, and you always like to get a W on that day,” said Vikings coach Bryon Shields post-game.
Sophomore Kendall Liebert had another big game for the Vikings with twenty-two points. Seven of Kendall’s points were in the final quarter when this game was decided.
When Kendall wasn’t making layups, she was getting contact on the way in. Kendall was an excellent 10-for-12 from the line.
Junior Bella George paced the Pioneers with thirteen points.
“Bella George is awesome,” said Coach Breen. “Really steady.”
Bella helped the visitors get to a, 22-15, advantage four minutes into the second quarter.
Triton had answers. Three’s from seniors Molly Kimball and Maeve Heffernan, as well as a layup by Maeve set up by Isabelle Basile put the home team in front, 25-24.
The Vikings had a 30-26 lead at halftime and a one-point lead (35-34) at the end of three periods.
This one had “tight finish” written all over it.
But something changed. Triton switched to a zone defense.
“We went into it (zone defense) coming out of the third quarter,” recalled Coach Shields. “They had trouble making shots against it and so we stayed with it.”
For two minutes the Vikings shut out the Pioneers. “Our zone defense is one of our strongest defenses,” said Maeve Heffernan afterwards.
A three by Molly Kimball (six points) and a successful drive by Kendall Liebert put consecutive points together and Triton was ahead, 41-34, with six minutes to go.
There was plenty of time left for Lynnfield to get back into it and they started to score consistently as Bella George heated up again. But on this afternoon, Triton responded with their own points. One time it was a Brianna Welch rebound basket. Another time it was a Lia Hatheway three. Kendall added two assisted layups. The Vikings came away with a 52-45 win.
“We had trouble when they went zone,” said Coach Breen. “You have to put the ball in the basket. It’s an easy game when you can do that.”
Coach Shields: “It was a dog fight. The difference was our intensity on the defensive end late in the game and our rebounding.”
Maeve Heffernan: “It was a hard-fought game. We’re not a team that gives up. We kept working hard.”
Coach Breen: “We competed the whole game. I think that it was the best game we’ve played so far.”
The 12:30PM start made for some interesting lighting.
Coach Breen coached Lynnfield from 1994-99 before switching to North Andover from 2000-2013.
The Pioneers broke a three-game losing streak with a win over Collegiate Charter School (Lowell) on January 4th.
The Vikings were 2-8 last season ending with eight straight losses. One of those losses was to Lynnfield, 54-20.
The two teams will meet again at Lynnfield on January 21st.
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