LYNN, Mass. -- Whenever or where ever Lynn English needed a pickup on Tuesday, Catherine Stinson was ready to give it to them.
In a battle of Northeastern Conference division leaders, it was the sophomores guard's complete shooting range that proved the difference for the No. 6 Bulldogs .
Scoring 17 points from all over her side the court, Stinson propelled host English to a 40-34 victory over Swampscott.
“I told Catherine (to) keep shooting,” said English coach Fred Hogan. “She will make the big assist, she will make a great pass, and she will hit the big shot. She does not get bothered or rattled.”
With the Bulldogs (13-1, 12-0) and the Big Blue (10-3, 9-2) each holding a solid lead in their divisions (Lynn in North, Swampscott in South), the win was a statement as to who was the best in the conference at the halfway point in the season.
The two teams started the game slow, but a deep step-back 3-pointer by Stinson helped heat the Bulldogs up with a 7-6 lead. After missing eight behind-the-arc attempts in the first quarter, English hit four treys in the second to pull ahead.
An in-motion jumper by senior Tyeisha Lewis six minutes later sent the Bulldogs into half up 18-12.
“I just do a stepback then I feel it and shoot,” said Stinson. “We could score up and after that we could get back on defense. I feel (the shot) in the motion.”
By attacking underneath Swampscott managed to keep in range, but were unable to offset the Bulldogs shooting. A three-of-seven foul-line ratio to open the second half hurt the low-paint focused Big Blue.
Swampscott did not lead again since squandering an advantage early in the second quarter.
A planted 3-pointer hit through a blocker's hand by Lewis gave English its biggest margin of the night at 34-20 with 4:30 left.
“We had to make it our style of game (by) going to the hoop and making our shots,” said Hogan. “We came out (of the half) with a lot of full court man-to-man. We will have to play real (strong) man-to-man in the state tournament.”
Swampscott showed life in the final minute when a drained corner trey by junior Ara Talkov brought the score to 39-34 with 19.6 seconds left. However, a blocked inbound attempt by Talkov and a swiped pass under the basket by the Big Blue did not produce points.
“We are never going to stop playing and a lot of the kids made their shots (late),” said Swampscott coach Jack Hughes. “We finally made some shots, but we did not make too many overall.”
Stinson is fully recovered from an ankle injury that she suffered in 51-37 win over Saugus. The sophomore flipped six assists and grappled five blocks, while teammate senior captain Taylor Newhall grabbed eight rebounds.
Junior Ara Talkov led Swampscott in scoring with 14 points and 13 rebounds, while Laskaris had 13 points and 10 rebounds.
“(Laskaris and Talkov) are our two most experienced players and they have to come through,” said Hughes. “We tried some zone and man, but struggled offensively.”