BEVERLY — It’s difficult for any team to score only 10 points in the first half and go on to win a game. Though Beverly made a serious fourth quarter push, it was too little too late against Gloucester at home last night.
The Panthers hit three straight jumpers with just under three minutes to go to cut the deficit to five, but the Fishermen made some key free throws to hold on for their second straight victory, 46-35.
“The fourth quarter is how we’ve been playing the last few games,” said Beverly coach Matt Smith. “I really don’t have an explanation for the first half, I’d like to say that it’s because we didn’t have school today and the girls were out of their routine.
“Gloucester did to us what we’ve been doing everybody else. They played good, hard defense, they took care of the basketball and made their free throws. So, Gloucester kind of gave us a taste our own medicine.”
Beverly (5-7) went halfway through the fourth quarter before anyone hit a shot. Once Andrea Zelano hit a layup, the Panthers went on a 10-0 run in a matter of two minutes to make it 38-33 in favor of Gloucester.
Zelano scored five of her 11 points in the final quarter, while Emma Moriarty hit a long three-pointer to swing the momentum for Beverly.
“You have to respect an opponent that makes a push like that and I tip my hat to Beverly for not quitting,” said Gloucester coach head coach Brandon Lewis. “We had to stay composed and wanted to keep Beverly off the foul line. It was really essential for us to string two wins together, so I couldn’t be happier. We had 10 offensive rebounds in the first half, that’s pretty impressive for us.”
Gloucester held the Beverly to single digits in the first quarter and allowed another five in the second. Shots were just not dropping in favor of the Panthers, despite getting a few quality open looks. Beverly also had a difficult time containing Sophia Black, who had a game-high 17 points — five of which coming from the line.
Smith went to his second unit in the third quarter in order to spark some offense, though Gloucester closed out the quarter leading 34-23.
“The group on the floor wasn’t doing it and sometimes mass substitution wakes people up a little bit,” said Smith. “The second unit certainly didn’t lose any ground and those kids played hard.”
Besides Zelano’s 11 points, no other Beverly starter made it into double figures. Off the bench, Moriarty finished with seven points and Abby Carnervale added five.
“The ten points in the first half did us in,” added Smith. “I don’t care who you’re playing, you wont beat anybody doing that.”
Beverly is off for a week and travels to Winthrop next Friday.