TOPSFIELD — The final score didn’t indicate it, but there was little breathing room in the first half of last night’s Division 1 North first round matchup.
Cambridge’s gritty defense yielded numerous first quarter turnovers for third-seeded Masconomet, and the hosts found themselves trailing heading into the second half.
A bit of patience proved to be the difference, however, as the Chieftains managed to pull away from Cambridge en route to a 57-39 victory.
“Cambridge is crazy quick and aggressive,” said Masconomet head coach Bob Romeo. “It was a lot of bumping and loose balls going on. We made the adjustment and figured out that Cambridge wasn’t going to just lay down.
“It was a game where we got a lot of contributions from a lot of different people; that’s what it takes to win at this level. You can’t win it with just one player.”
The Chieftains move onto to the quarterfinals Saturday back home and wait to face the winner of tonight’s game between Andover and Lynn Classical (time TBA).
Masconomet (20-1) ended the first half on an 11-2 run last night and took a 25-16 lead at the break.
“That was the real key for us,” said Romeo. “We got some stops.”
Senior guard Hannah Kierenan pushed the lead to 10 on a banked three-pointer to start the third quarter. Kiernan hit another three midway through to go up, 36-19, and freshman Stephanie Mini netted six of her 13 points in the third.
The Chieftains outscored Cambridge, 35-14, in the middle two quarters, which proved to be the difference when all was said and done.
“I thought defensively in the second and third quarters we figured out which way we wanted the ball to go,” noted Romeo. “We slowed them down and did some good stuff in the backcourt, where we ran some impromptu traps.”