IPSWICH — The message has been the same all season long for the Ipswich girls basketball team — set the tone early on.
Yesterday the Tigers (19-3) capitalized on all of their possessions in the opening quarter, hitting key baskets to establish their lead against fifth seeded Winthrop. Led by senior captain Julia Davis, Ipswich defended its home court in the Division 3 North quarterfinals en route to a 49-37 victory over the visiting Vikings.
“We like to come out hard and set the tone,” said senior captain Brigid O’Flynn. “We want to let teams know that they’re going to play at our speed and our game. You never want to play at someone else pace, we like to be the leaders and in charge of the game.”
The win propels fourth seeded Ipswich to the semifinals against its Cape Ann League nemesis, top seeded Pentucket on Wednesday at Beverly (7 p.m.). The Sachems have had the Tigers’ number for quite some time now, taking the last nine of 11 meetings between the two clubs dating back to 2004. Last year the Sachems knocked Ipswich out of the tournament in the North final at Tsongas Center, 49-30.
“We’re really excited for Pentucket on Wednesday, they’re the team to beat,” noted O’Flynn. “We’re looking forward to taking on that challenge, because we know we’re capable of beating them.”
Ipswich found most of its rhythm from scoring in transition against Winthrop (17-7). Davis (10 rebounds) scored 12 of her 14 points in the opening eight minutes of the game to send Ipswich into halftime with a 25-16 lead.
“It’s great when Jules can do that and get off to a quick start,” said Ipswich head coach Mandy Carter-Zegarowski. “Sooner or later teams will make the adjustment to try and stop her, so to get the buckets early on— it really got her confidence going.”