By Christopher Smith
---- — NORTH ANDOVER — Westford’s two 6-footers, Samantha Hyslip and Hannah Hackley, made life quite challenging for the North Andover girls basketball team last night.
“It’s definitely a tall order, literally,” Scarlet Knights coach Megan Ryan said about forward Mackenzie Mello’s assignment to defend down low against Westford.
The Amherst-bound Hackley led all scorers with 17 points. Stonehill-bound Hyslip, last year’s Dual County League Large MVP, added nine points. Westford rolled easily, 60-31.
“Mackenzie is excellent defensively and she really works hard and she’s really disciplined so her job today was to make nothing easy,” Ryan said. “We knew they were going to score. We wanted to really limit what they could do easily. And I think we did a nice job of it. Megan (Collins) chipped in when she could. Rachel (Davies) chipped in when she could.”
One other bright note for North Andover was the strong play of freshman Aralee Bogar, a 5-4 guard who netted a team-high 10 points.
“The thing I like about Aralee is that she’s fearless and that’s what you need out of a freshman,” Ryan said. “She wants to get to that basket. She wants to get better. She wants to pick up the pace always and it’s nice. And she’s tough as nails. Having to guard excellent (teammates) like Leah Chittick and Abbie Karalis every day at practice makes you better fast. And she’s improving.”
North Andover was without Karalis, its star point guard, who sprained her ankle against Lawrence last week. Ryan expects Karalis to be out for about a week to a week and a half.
“That’s what we’re hoping for,” Ryan said. “Hopefully sooner. We’re hoping for a Christmas miracle but we will see.”
Westford led by 16 points after one quarter and by 20 at halftime.
“I think it (was) a good test to let us know where we’re at,” Ryan said. “My kids played hard the entire game. A lot of times teams can give up and get down on themselves. And we didn’t and that’s a good starting off point. We have some adjustments to make, some improvements to make. But that’s OK.”
Westford Academy 60, North Andover 31
North Andover (31): Aralee Bogar 4-2-10, Maura Barry 2-0-5, Colleen Chittick 2-0-4, Leah Chittick 0-0-0, Megan Collins 3-1-7, Simonne Brissenden 0-0-0, Rachel Davies 0-0-0, Christina Castaldo 1-1-3, Mackenzie Mello 1-0-2. Totals 13-4-31
Westford (60): Anna Collins 1-2-5, Rebecca Sennot 3-2-8, Camille Desrochers 0-0-0, Cathryn Sennott 3-0-7, Jessica Libby 0-1-1, Karly Bigham 1-0-2, Allia Connolly 1-0-2 Hannah Hackley 6-4-17, McKenna Doremus 1-1-3, Morgan Ross 2-0-6, Quinn Slein 0-0-0, Samantha Hyslip 4-1-9, Maddie Russell 0-0-0. Totals 22-11-60
3-pointers: NA — Barry; W — Collins, C. Sennott, Hackley, Ross 2
North Andover (2-1): 4 11 2 14 — 31
Westford Academy: 20 15 14 11 — 60