Swampscott girls hoop cruises past Wilmington

SWAMPSCOTT – It was a game of adjustments, but once the Swampscott High girls basketball team settled down defensively and loosened up offensively, it was clear sailing in a 69-55 win over Wilmington Thursday in Division 3 North first-round action at Swampscott.After swapping buckets for the first quarter, both teams struggled to find the hoop in the second and by the half, Swampscott only led by two at 25-23. The Big Blue started to pull away and with a little over three minutes remaining in the game, they were up by 20 points.”It was a good win for us,” Swampscott coach Jack Hughes said, “although we got off to kind of a sluggish start.”Hughes said he threw a couple of different defenses at the Wildcats, but nothing worked in the early going.Swampscott led 18-15 after the first quarter, but both teams struggled to find the basket in the second. Wilmington found out the hard way that Swampscott is a tough team to keep under wraps for long. Big guns Tara Nimkar and Allie Beaulieu kept pounding the ball inside and eventually they wore out the Wildcats.”Our defense did much better (in the second half) and a couple of kids loosened up (offensively),” Hughes said, adding that Nimkar and Beaulieu are veterans when it comes to playing in big games.Nimkar finished with 24 points with 14 of them coming in the second half. Beaulieu checked in with 22 points. Swampscott lived at the free throw line, particularly in the fourth quarter when it scored 14 points on freebies. Sophomore Kara Gilberg was also tough to stop. Her six points in the third quarter helped ignite the Swampscott offense. Tara Gallagher only had four points, but they all came on free throws down the stretch.Although Swampscott won by a comfortable 14-point margin, it would have been even more lopsided if not for Wilmington’s Stephanie Sauve. Sauve shot the lights out in the final quarter, scoring 17 of her team-high 22 points.Swampscott will face the winner of Pentucket/Newburyport in the Division 3 North semifinals. The time and date haven’t been announced yet.

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