Turnovers limit English in loss to New Mission

Jessica Ruiz (right) and the English girls basketball team start the postseason with a trip to Andover Monday. (Item File Photo)

LYNN — The English girls basketball team played well in spurts and made a valiant comeback attempt Monday night, but it wasn’t enough as the Bulldogs fell to New Mission in a non-conference tilt at Paul Cavanagh Field House. English struggled with turnovers and missed shots for much of the game.

“We played a good team today and we competed hard in the first half, but we had way too many mistakes and turnovers to win,” said English coach Mackenzie Charles. “We had 11 turnovers in the first half, and that’s a number that you’d want for an entire game. We had some rough possessions out there, but we still battled to the end.”

Mashayla Johnson was the leading scorer for the Bulldogs, netting 17 points with four rebounds. Maylin Echevarria had 12 points and seven rebounds, while Jessica Ruiz had a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Kylia Reynoso added eight points and 10 rebounds, Stacy Abreu had six points and two rebounds and Julianna Perry had four points and six rebounds.

“We made some shots out there and had some good runs on offense,” said Charles. “But at the same time, we did miss too many layups tonight. (New Mission) played really strong defense and forced us to do some things we’re not used to.”

The Bulldogs had issues with New Mission’s full-court press defense from the very start, but it actually didn’t affect English too much in the very early going. Despite making seven turnovers in the first quarter, the Bulldogs were able to play solid enough defense that they were never out of the game. By the end of the first quarter, English only trailed 13-8.

The second quarter was an up and down one for the Bulldogs. For the first few minutes, it was all New Mission. The Titans stretched their lead out to 11 points before English called a timeout with just over four minutes left in the half. But that timeout turned out to be just what the Bulldogs needed, as they went on a 12-6 run to close the half and only trailed 33-28 at the break.

Unfortunately, English couldn’t carry that momentum into the second half. In the third quarter, New Mission took advantage of a number of English mistakes, turning turnovers into baskets left and right. The Bulldogs may have been able to stem the tide if they could have knocked down some shots, but they went cold. New Mission extended its lead to as many as 18 points, and the Titans led 50-37 going into the final quarter.

Despite the big deficit, the Bulldogs did make one final push as the quarter came to a close. Behind some hot shooting by Johnson, English cut it to as close as a seven-point game with under a minute to go. However, that’s where the rally ended as New Mission was able to knock down some free throws to seal the win in the final seconds.

It will be a quick turnaround for English (6-3), as crosstown rival Classical’s up next on the schedule (Wednesday, 7).

“We can’t really dwell on this too long because we have Classical coming in next and Peabody on Friday, so there’s no time to relax,” Charles said. “We’ll take a look at the film and see what we did wrong and then just work to fix those things.”

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