LAWRENCE — The Masconomet girls basketball team left the Lawrence High gymnasium last night the same way they entered — together.
After dominating the first half of last night’s Division 1 North semifinal game against Central Catholic, the Chieftains watched their double-digit lead slip through their fingers down the stretch. Central Catholic then ran the table in the fourth quarter to take down Masconomet, 49-43.
“You look at what you accomplished; you don’t look at the final game,” said Masconomet (21-2) head coach Bob Romeo. “We ran the table in the Cape Ann League, beat Penutcket twice and had a real good showing in the St. Mary’s Tournament.
“There isn’t a person leaving this gym that didn’t think we were the better team ... (but) we didn’t win the game. We didn’t get those breaks down the stretch and (now) we go home, turn in the uniforms.”
Masconomet took the first half by storm, holding Central to just four points in the second quarter. The Chieftains took a convincing 24-16 lead at the half, back by senior captain Hannah Kiernan’s seven points in the second quarter.
“Early on we did a great job attacking the rim and our defense was phenomenal,” said Romeo.
The Raiders (21-1) went scoreless for over eight minutes between the second quarter and start of the third.
“One of the keys we talked about was fighting for every possession and fighting until the final buzzer,” said Central Catholic coach Sue Downer. “Little by little we were able to get ourselves back into the game.
“Our theme for this year is having heart and having courage,” added Downer. “They don’t want their season to be over. That’s where our veteran leaders made some huge contributions.”
Junior Meghan Collins hit a basket and senior Nicole Femino banked in a left-handed layup to extend the Chieftains’ lead to 12 points, 28-16. Central found its rhythm, though, and went on a 6-0 run to close the third period, setting the stage for the final quarter.