Boston High School: Madison Beatrice

Recap: No. 11 Newton North 54, No. 1 Braintree 46

January, 22, 2013

NEWTON, Mass. -- Newton North girls' basketball coach Linda Martindale scheduled a scrimmage with the Tigers' JV boys' basketball team for yesterday's practice.

As her girls faced a much more physical and lengthier squad than they had seen most of the season they quickly got sense of what they would face on Tuesday. North had been pushed around the court by top-seeded Braintree in a large early season loss and Martindale knew the boys would represent that same defensive toughness.

The new practice showed immediate results on Tuesday as host No. 11 Newton North (11-1, 5-1) gave Braintree (11-2, 5-1) its only instate loss this year and tied the Wamps atop the Bay State (Carey) division with a 54-46 victory.

“They came after us in such a big way in the first game,” said Martindale. “The boys come into the gym and they are just naturally physical. The kids got really beat up yesterday and they got pushed around and we wanted them not to be rattled by that.”

North started a 15 point streak at 3:33 in the first quarter to pull ahead for good. While falling to court, Tigers' junior Maddie Bledsoe flipped a pass out to senior Madison Beatrice for an 8-7 three-pointer to start the drive. Junior Infiniti Thomas-Waheed used a slight lean to hit a tre in coverage and finish the run at 20-7 with 5:27 remaining in the second quarter.

Thomas-Waheed lead North with 13 points and four three-pointers.

“They had their hands low (and) that is when you take a shot,” said Thomas-Waheed. “(The scrimmage) made us get used to playing against an athletic (and) long team. (Coach) is constantly making us dive for balls.”

Trailing 27-14 at half, the reigning Division 1 South champs slowly knocked away at the lead and grabbed their first single-digit deficit since the first quarter with 1:25 left in the third. After 6-foot sophomore Bridget Herlihy lobbed an assist to younger sister Brianna in the paint, the sophomore tipped in a rebound for the 34-25 margin.

“We were trying to double the ball a little bit,” said Braintree coach Kristen McDonnell. “We were face guarding girls in the full
court and taking some chances. They made some outside shots so it made us extend our defense.”

Six straight early in the final quarter, including a pair of free throws by Bledsoe, helped settle North with a 44-27 advantage at 5:19. Bridget Herlihy forced an old-fashion three to prompt an eight-point tear for Braintree and bring the score to 46-36 with 3:20 left in the game.

However, North forced eight points in free throws in the final three minutes to pull away.

“We knew we had to stop them from running their set offense,” said Martindale. “They are bigger than us and we knew if the ball went inside we would get beat. We tried to keep our feet moving so we did not get sealed.”

Two late three-pointers by Braintree's leading scorer senior Rachel Norton (15 points) cut the deficit back to single-digits for the 54-46 final.

“We wanted to get a little more physical with them,” said McDonnell. “They attack the basket really well and they showed that tonight. They have inside (and) outside game.”

A defensively-sound Braintree squad that touts four players at least 5-foot-11 or higher has held teams to an average of 27.7 points per game. It was North's combination of man-to-man and 2-3 zone defense that shined early against the Wamps on Tuesday.

“We predominately did a man (and) switched into a zone after timeouts to make sure they were not going to set any double screens on us,” said Martindale. “Zone under the basket (to) push the defenders out.”

Braintree and North have finished first and second, respectively, in the Bay State Conference's Carey division the previous two season. The Tigers are looking to grab their first division title in three years.

“We needed to prepare ourselves for toughness,” said Martindale. “I think it is more for us to keep momentum. It is really important for us to know that we can beat teams.”

Recap: Newton North 53, L-S 40

December, 13, 2011
SUDBURY, Mass. -– For the second game in a row, Lincoln-Sudbury girls' basketball came up short, as Newton North stunned the Warriors, 53-40, and earned their first victory of the season.

“Being that we are a young team, starting off strong is really important, and keeping our positivity up, so it’s great that we came out strong, and had a good first win,” said Newton North sophomore Infiniti Thomas.

Despite trailing L-S (0-2) for most of the first and second quarters, Newton North rallied during the closing minutes of the first half, as junior Madison Beatrice (14 points, three assists, two rebounds) sank a three-pointer, which propelled the Tigers to tally an additional six more points before intermission.

“We were a little bit tight in the first quarter, but we took very good shots, [and] they just didn’t fall for us," North head coach Linda Martindale said. "And by the second quarter, I feel like we loosened up, and some balls went in for us and gave us a little bit of momentum going into the second half."

The Tigers (1-0) extended their lead during the opening minutes of the third quarter, as Thomas (14 points, five rebounds) and junior Jillian Doherty capitalized on back-to-back turnovers, which helped Newton North earn their largest lead of the game.

“[The] second half was much better [for our team],” said Thomas. “We started working [together by] passing the ball around [and finding open shots].”

L-S’ offense eventually recovered from their sluggish start, as junior Ashley Lutz, (16 points, five rebounds) and freshman Kristen Ngan (eight points) recorded back-to-back three-pointers.

However, those two baskets didn’t provide the necessary spark the Warriors needed, as L-S missed a handful of lay-ups and shots inside the arc, which helped Newton North regrow their lead, and preserve the victory.

Martindale earns first victory with Tigers: Tuesday’s win marked the first official at Newton North for Martindale, who previously coached at Weston and also served as an assistant under Feldman. Martindale was quite pleased with her team’s performance against a quality non-conference foe.

“It feels great. It feels great to win a game on defense [too],” she said.

Martindale also believes that a win against L-S should help boost the moral of her team, especially against Bay State Conference opponents.

“I think holding a team to 13 shots in the second half is unbelievable. It lets us believe that we can play against anybody,” said Martindale.

Impact of the Tiger defense: Newton North played solid defense during the final 16 minutes, limiting the Warriors to just 13 shots and 14 points.

“Our plan was to win on defense because offensively, we’re still trying to feel each other out,” said Martindale. “We knew we had to win with defense, and we did.

“We were able to maintain the momentum by letting our defense lead our offense."

Learning From Mistakes: It hasn’t exactly been the easiest past few days for L-S, which will have roughly one week off until their next contest against conference foe Waltham. Yet, against Newton North, head coach Liza Feldman and Lutz felt this game was an important learning experience that’ll help them for the remainder of the season.

“I’m not worried with a young team necessarily about wins and losses. We can’t focus on only that,” said Feldman. “I think there was other things we could have controlled rather than the score that we didn’t, and those are the things we’re going to work on,” said Feldman.

“I think it was a pretty good learning experience. We’re a really young team, and I think a lot of the players past two games, even though we haven’t won, a lot of the new players, lot of the old players [have] learned to work together, and we’ve done great stuff as a team, so I think it’s going to be a matter of pulling [it] all together,” said Lutz.

L-S was whistled numerous times for traveling on offense, as well as in during the transition too, but according to Lutz, she thinks these early mistakes will only help her teammates get better.

“We’re getting better, and that’s the important thing,” she said.