LYNN — It always feels good to get a win over your crosstown rival.
That’s the feeling the Classical girls basketball team came away with after Wednesday night’s 43-33 win over English at Classical’s Gymnasium.
“Any win in the (Northeastern Conference) is big,” Classical coach Tom Sawyer said. “Any win at home is big. We need wins. This puts at 6-4. We’d like to make the state tournament. In any sport, when these two schools get together it’s special.”
Amber Crayton led all scorers with 16 points.
“Amber plays hard,” Sawyer said. “She’s physical and she gets fouled a lot. She hit her free throws. She was 8-for-11 from the free throw line, that’s pretty good. She just plays so hard. She’s kind of undersized down there but she’s so strong and has heart. That’s what she brings to this team and you have to love a kid that plays like that.”
Jean Gupton-Morrison (nine points), Skyler Crayton (eight points) and Jazzmine Masse (seven points) also made key shots.
English was led by Maylin Echecarria’s 10 points. Juliana Perry and Stacy Abreu each scored eight points.
“Juliana plays really hard,” English coach Mackenzie Charles said. “As a group we just didn’t play hard enough. That’s kind of disappointing in a rivalry game. You think you’d leave it all out on the court. But back to the drawing board. We’ll keep on working, that’s life in the NEC.
“We didn’t play hard enough tonight,” Charles added. “We didn’t put enough pressure on them. We kind of let them sit in their defenses. When we did put pressure on them and tried to get to the hoop, I thought we had good things.”
The first quarter belonged to Classical’s Amber Crayton. The junior forward scored the first six points of the game and the Rams were out to a 6-0 lead. Echevarria put the Bulldogs on the board with their first basket four minutes in. Abreu capped the quarter with a nifty move in the post but the Rams, behind 10 points from Amber Crayton, carried an 11-6 lead at the end of the opening period.
Masse joined the scoresheet with a jump shot to start the second quarter. English answered with a 6-0 run to whittle Classical’s lead down to one point at 13-12. Echevarria netted a basket and Perry got back-to-back hook shots, forcing Classical to burn a timeout.
Kiara Edmonds scored coming out of the timeout, putting the Rams back on track. They closed the half on a 8-2 run and carried a 21-14 advantage at the midway break.
The Bulldogs kept pace at the start of the third quarter, trailing 26-20 midway through the period. Classical flipped the switch at that point with a 9-0 run. At the end of the third quarter, the Rams led 35-20 with all the momentum.
“We stayed with the game plan,” Sawyer said. “We scored 14 in that quarter so we happened to score a few more points than we did in the other quarters. This is a shot-making game, you have to make shots to win games. We just happened to make a few more shots in that quarter.”
After a few minutes of scoreless play in the fourth quarter, Jessica Ruiz ended English’s drought. Consecutive Classical hoops from Skyler Crayton and Gupton-Morrison brought the lead up to 17 at 39-22. English came as close as within eight points of Classical after Kylia Reynoso’s 3-pointer and Abreu’s pair of hoops. But it was too little too late as the Rams held on in the closing seconds for the win.
“In girls basketball you have to do three things to win,” Charles said. “You have to play extremely hard, you have to make layups and you have to make free throws. I think we were 0-for-3 in those tonight. But it is what it is, we’ll get back to work.”
Classical visits Revere Friday (7). English hosts Peabody Friday (7).