Classical girls hoop falls to Lexington

LEXINGTON – The Lynn Classical girls basketball team came out of the locker room in the third quarter and proceeded to play as if it was 0-0.The only problem was ? it wasn’t 0-0. The team was down by 19, after having scored only 10 points over the first 16 minutes.Things didn’t get better, in terms of math, in the final two quarters. The 19-point deficit grew to 23 by the end of the game, and the Classical girls team lost, 54-31, in the first round of the MIAA Division 1 North tournament, as Lexington maintained its edge through the latter part of the game.But as far as Classical coach Tom Sawyer was concerned, his girls didn’t simply pack it in and go through the motions.”We came out after the half, and really competed with them,” he said. “We scrambled to make things happen, but we just came up short.”Classical had no match for Lexington’s height ? or its defensive tenacity.”We won,” said coach Paul McManus, “because we played defense. Our trap really worked tonight, and that was a big factor.”The Minutemen put on a halfcourt trap from the outset, and Classical had trouble getting the ball over halfcourt. The trap also led to some errant passes by the Rams, as the Minutemen scored a lot of points off turnovers.”In the first half,” Sawyer said, “we just couldn’t get off the mark. A lot of shots went in and out, and it did seem as if there was a lid on the basket.”But that’s a good team over there,” he said, referring to Lexington. “That halfcourt trap gave us a lot of trouble. But our kids played hard to the end, and that’s what we do at Classical.””They’re a good team,” said McManus. “We knew what they could do. We’ve seen them. (Christina) McKenzie and (Keila Brown) ? they’re good players.”Lexington scored 11 points before Classical scored its first two – on a basket by Brown. McKenzie had the other hoop in the first quarter, and Shardaye Berry hit a free throw.It was more of the same in the second quarter. Lexington, led by the game’s high scorer, Nina Ugwuomo (22 points), and Alyssa Zahka (11), scored seemingly at will, while Classical, again, couldn’t put the ball in the basket. Finally, at the end of the quarter, Bryanna Connolly hit two free throws and another bucket to put Classical in double digits.The Rams came to life in the third quarter, outscoring Lexington, 14-13, but it was clearly too little, too late.McKenzie and Connolly had eight points apiece to lead Classical.”We graduate six seniors, and we’re going to miss them a lot,” said Sawyer. “But I’m proud of them.”Lexington will host Peabody Friday (7) in a quarterfinal game.

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