SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

December 21, 2013

Lynn English's strong fourth proves costly for Peabody

PEABODY — Contrary to what the final score indicates, the Peabody girls basketball team held its own against the defending Northeastern Conference Large champion Lynn English last night.

While the Tanners trailed by only eight heading into the final quarter, the dominant Bulldogs did them in during the final stanza to run away with a 52-36 victory over the hosts.

“We talked about it at practice that we had a shot at this one,” said Peabody head coach Jane Heil. “Lynn English just has that mental edge as soon as they walk into the gym. Until someone in the conference beats them, they’re going to continue to have that mental edge.”

The first quarter favored the Bulldogs’ quick transition offense, but the second quarter turned out to be a positive one for Peabody. Despite going to the locker room down by five, the Tanners outscored Lynn English 13-6, including closing out the quarter on a 4-0 run.

Peabody freshman guard Melissa Gray sparked the offense by hitting three shots in a row and scoring all of her seven points in the second quarter, including a three pointer. Gray also had two steals, which transitioned into two of her made baskets.

“Her play was impressive,” Heil said of Gray. “When we’re freelancing, she’s great for that. The girls have to look for her more. I told them halftime that I want all of my players to shoot, but if they’re not going to shot, try and find Melissa.

“Melissa’s baskets changed things for us and put us back in the game a few times. When you have that, it lifts everyone.”

The Tanners cut the deficit to within two, 24-22 to start the third quarter after junior Courtney Bua drilled a three-pointer. English answered with 10 straight points and instituted multiple full-court presses to stifle Peabody’s offense.

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