HAMILTON — Game planning for a team like Ipswich is no easy task. If you defend the Tigers around the perimeter, they'll make you pay in the paint and if you stop them down low— you better beware of their three-point shooters.
Hamilton-Wenham decided to make Ipswich work for every point under the basket, but that left Masey Zegarowski wide open from beyond the arch. The Generals had no answer for the sophomore point guard and the Tigers ran away with a 56-41 victory on the road.
"I think we have to do a better job on our rotations defensively," said Hamilton-Wenham coach Jon DeMarco. "A couple of times they set high picks against us and we did not hedge with our post player, which allowed them to get open shots basically. If we did a better job at that, which we during a stretch in the third quarter, we would've been better off."
Zegarowski took full advantage of the open looks, draining six three-pointers to finish with a game-high 26 points and five assists. She also went 2-for-2 from the free throw line.
The Generals (8-4) were only down by four at the end of the first quarter and trailed by as many as 11 in the opening half. Ipswich (11-2) held Hamilton-Wenham to eight points in the second quarter and took a 29-21 lead at halftime.
"I thought we were a little unfocused in the first half," said Ipswich coach Mandy Carter-Zegarowski. "We making silly mistakes and not rotating well on defense and they were getting some easy layups. We made some adjustments during halftime, which turned out a really good third quarter."
Ipswich opened the second half with 5-0 run as Zegarowski had back-to-back steals, which transitioned into baskets for the Tigers. DeMarco called a time out to regroup and Cassandra Fibbe hit a three out of the huddle. Fibbe led the Generals offense with 16 points, factoring into the scoring in every quarter.
The Tigers went up 44-25 at the end of the third quarter and held Hamilton-Wenham to just four points.
"There was a point there in the third quarter that Ipswich didn't score for about four minutes, but then we didn't score," said DeMarco. "That was our opportunity to make a run and we knew it. We just couldn't do it, we didn't hit the shots and we had too many turnovers."
Ipswich senior captain Julia Davis worked hard for all of her points 13 points in the paint. Davis played through the double-team most of the night and managed to grab eight rebounds and three assists.
"Jules' 13 was a tough 13 points, they were sandwiching her every time she touched the ball," explained Carter-Zegarowski. "I thought she did a good job kicking the ball back out and finding her teammates. She did a much better job rebounding in the second half and they did a lot to take her and Masey out of the game."
The Generals closed out the game on a 7-0 run, but could only come within 15 in the final quarter.