No Consolation for Outmatched Knights
Girls hoop squad falls to 52-41 to Lowell, takes fourth in annual Greater Lawrence Christmas Tourney.
For a team to accomplish anything, it must first endeavor some adversity throughout the course of a season.
For the 2010-11 edition of the North Andover girls basketball team, that time is now.
"It was a tough day for the Knights," said North Andover head coach Susan Breen.
The Knights fell 52-41 to the Red Raiders of Lowell High School Wednesday night with third place in the annual Greater Lawrence Christmas Tournament on the line at Methuen High School.
The disappointment for North Andover came courtesy of the Lowell defense which kept North Andover in check all evening.
"We had a tough time getting going," said Breen. "Their defense was just smothering," she said. "They ripped the ball out of our hands… give them a lot of credit."
Lowell opened up the game on a 14-2 run which prompted Breen to call for time with 90 seconds remaining in the first. The Knights, looking dejected after the first period, did outscore Lowell by two in the second to pull within eight at halftime.
The Knights barely dented the Lowell lead cutting the deficit to seven after three quarters.
In the end, North Andover could not get the formula right to generate offense.
"We just couldn't find a mismatch to take advantage of offensively, we just had a lot of trouble," said Breen.
With 3:16 left, the Red Raiders' junior captain Brigitte Ravagli delivered the finishing blow, nailing a three right in front of her coach and teammates on the bench to put Lowell up by 15.
Ravagli's dagger was part of a 10 point night while junior guard Katelyn Bryan led all scorers with 18 points for the Red Raiders.
Lowell's third place finish in the tournament improves the Red Raiders to 2-3 while North Andover falls to 3-3.
On Tuesday night, North Andover was denied a bid in the finals against the undefeated, defending state champion Andover Lady Warriors.
Pinkerton came back in the final minute on the Knights sending North Andover into the consolation game.
"Maybe a little bit of letdown after such an emotional game last night," said Breen.
North Andover stayed in the game with help from its talented sophomore guard Morgan Lumb. Lumb played her heart out offering up 13 points to the North Andover cause.
The three captains will have to shoulder the scoring load for the Knights if they are to make a run at the Cape Ann League crown later in the season.
"I think it starts with Footey [Amanda Foote] and Erika [Zahouriko] and Caitlin [Enright], the three captains," said Breen.
The three combined for 20 points in Wednesday's loss.
Lumb is the Rondo to compliment North Andover's big three.
"They have to be the four that do it this year," said Breen.
Senior captain Erika Zahouriko earned the coach's award following the tournament thanks to her consistent play and essential role.
"She just makes our engine go," Breen said of Zahouriko.
The first leg of the season concluded with North Andover showing flashes of success but offensive droughts at the hands of good defenses.
Back to work go the Knights who open up the new year with a trip to Newburyport on Tuesday, Jan. 4.