LYNN — It came down to the final few seconds but the Lynn English girls basketball team held on for a hard-fought 43-41 win over Northeastern Conference foe Marblehead at Paul F. Cavanagh Field House Tuesday night. The Bulldogs held a 12-point lead early in the first quarter but they could never quite put the Magicians away from striking distance.
“We’ll take the win for sure, but we made it a lot harder than it had to be,” said English coach Mackenzie Charles. “We’re a young team and this was a good learning experience for us. We made some bonehead plays at times, but we’ll be able to get better from it.”
Mashayla Johnson led English with 17 points and four rebounds, while Kylia Reynoso was right behind with 15 points and six rebounds. Stacy Abreu had four points, while Maylin Echevarria had three points and 10 rebounds. Julianna Perry (eight rebounds) and Jessica Ruiz (five rebounds) had solid games on the glass.
For Marblehead, Maddy Lowy led the way with 14 points. Emily Clough had eight points and nine rebounds, while Maddie Erskine had six points and 10 rebounds. Leila Walton (six points, two rebounds) and Darcy O’Sullivan (four points, two rebounds) also had good games.
“I couldn’t be any more proud of the kids tonight, they really fought back,” said Marblehead interim coach Paul Moran. “That was a tough environment to play in and they gave it a great run. We just can’t dig ourselves in that kind of a hole early on.”
Things got off to a great start for the Bulldogs, who opened the game with a 12-0 run. English was playing tough full-court defense and dictating the pace of the game on both sides of the floor. But Marblehead came right back, responding with a 11-2 run of its own to keep it close. By the end of the first, English held a 17-11 lead.
“It was a great way for us to start, and we made a couple of three’s early on,” Charles said. “But that also was kind of bad for us, because we got a little too confident and just started throwing them up. That allowed Marblehead to get back in it.”
“We wanted to keep them away from shooting the three, and we did a poor job of that early on,” said Moran. “But once we talked about it and started focusing on it we did a much better job on the defensive end.”
The second quarter saw Marblehead continue to ride the momentum from the first, and the Magicians eventually came back to tie the game at 20-20. But once again English was able to close the quarter with a couple of made shots, and the Bulldogs took a 24-21 lead into the halftime break.
English got back into a groove in the third quarter, extending its lead to as much as nine points at one point. Reynoso and Johnson made a few shots, while Echevarria pulled down a number of crucial rebounds. When the third quarter came to a close, the Bulldogs led 37-30.
But once again, Marblehead wasn’t done. The Magicians, aided by some stellar play from Lowy and Erskine, came all the way back to get to within five points. Then Lowy hit a three-pointer with 56 seconds left to make it 43-41 English, and the pressure was on the Bulldogs.
English responded well, using a number of passes to wind the clock down without getting fouled and held on for the victory.
Next up for Marblehead (2-5) is Revere Friday (7).
“This is a tough week, playing English and Revere on the road,” said Moran. “But that’s what you’ve got to expect when you play in this league. We’ll work hard to be better for that one.”
English (5-2) has a tough stretch in the weeks ahead, with games against Beverly, Classical and Peabody all on the horizon.
“It never gets any easier in this league,” Charles said. “We’ve got to work hard and get better every day if we want to compete day in and day out in this league, and that’s what makes you better.”
English and Beverly will play Friday (7).