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Merrimack Valley

January 19, 2013

Lawrence savors first win

LAWRENCE — Genesis Santana’s defensive pressure was overwhelming.

Right near halfcourt, the Lawrence sophomore’s arms were raised high, blocking all lanes for Haverhill’s Jordyn Poole to pass to a teammate or even see one.

Santana then reached down, stole the basketball and dribbled in for a layup.

That play summed up last night’s contest.

Santana played relentless defense while teammate Kiara Rodriguez poured in 14 points to lead the offense.

Lawrence (1-10) earned its first victory of the season, 57-34 over Haverhill in MVC action.

Santana made one diving stop to prevent a ball from rolling out of bounds in the first half. During the second half, she intercepted a pass while airborne and as she was headed out of bounds, she threw the basketball off a Haverhill player to gain her team possession.

“There was a lot of hustle in her,” Rodriguez said. “We’ve been doing bad this season but we’ve picked it up a lot (lately). We’ve been working together. She has put in a lot of work.”

Is Santana always that much of a hustler?

“Here and there when she wants to be,” Rodriguez said with Santana smiling beside her. “When she wants to hustle, she does.”

Rodriguez, meanwhile, sparked the offense early with nine of her 14 points during the first half.

“We’ve spent this whole week practicing our shots, me and her,” Rodriguez said.

Santana added about Rodriguez: “Her shooting was on point. It’s all about teamwork. When I pass it to her, it has to be on point. And she just started making her shots.”

Lawrence coach Dan Blouin said that they often ignite the team.

“Kiara is more of the fuel offensively and defensively,” said Blouin. “But it’s not the same person every night, which is good for us. Kiara, Karisha (Jimenez), and then kids like Meaghan Belton who last year never started. She (Belton) is getting some rebounds and scoring six or eight points on great passes from Kiara. Everyone’s working.

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