NORTH ANDOVER — All’s well that ends well, but even a surprisingly hard-fought Division 2 North first-round win almost didn’t end well for North Andover last night.
With the final seconds ticking away and North Andover leading by four points, as Tewksbury drove down the court in desperation, Knights’ star Morgan Lumb lay on the floor writhing in pain. She stayed there after the buzzer sounded and even after both teams shook hands following North Andover’s 38-34 victory.
Had Lumb re-injured her ankle that kept her out of action for over three weeks until early February? Would she be lost for the season?
North Andover coach Sue Breen was wondering the same thing, but she got good news from Lumb about 10 minutes later.
“It was just a really bad (calf) cramp,” said Lumb. “I’ve never felt such pain, but it feels a lot better now. My ankle is fine ... it’s almost as strong as it was before (the injury).”
Based on last night’s game, that was about the best thing that Breen could have heard. Against a Tewksbury team (10-10) that the Knights beat 53-28 earlier in the season, North Andover struggled mightily and would have been lost without Lumb. The Knights were 1-6 with her out. With North Andover hitting just 6 of 24 from the floor, and relying mainly on shots from the outside, Tewksbury held an ugly 17-14 halftime lead.
But Lumb took control in the third quarter, scoring seven of her game-high 15 points while adding two of her five assists. Trailing 25-22, she nailed her second 3-pointer of the game and then had a steal and breakaway layup to give the Knights a 27-25 advantage entering the fourth quarter.
Ahead by two, the Knights (13-8) pulled ahead, 33-27, with four minutes left to play on baskets by sophomore Megan Collins (8 points) and Michaela Mello (6 points). They then held on, all but clinching it with two Pam Coufos free throws with 13 seconds left.
“I think we came into the game thinking we’d win by a lot again,” said Lumb. “That’s what I was worried about. It took us awhile to get going.”
Agreed Breen: “We came out flat and Tewksbury played very well. We can play better and we’ll have to.”
North Andover will now play the winner of tonight’s game between No. 3 Arlington Catholic and No. 14 Salem, likely on Saturday or Sunday.
agateHed:North Andover 38, Tewksbury 34
agateText:Division 2 North First Round
agateText:Tewksbury (34):@zzAgate:agateText: Nicole Chaet 5 0-0 10, Kelli Sugrue 1 0-0 2, Sara Semenza 3 3-4 11, Shannon Semenza 0 0-0 0, Chelsee Porcaro 3 2-2 8, Shannon Smith 1 1-2 3. Totals 13 6-8 34
agateText:North Andover (38):@zzAgate:agateText: Pam Coufos 2 2-2 6, Abbie Karalis 1 1-2 3, Leah Chittick 0 0-0 0, Mackenzie Mello 0 0-0 0, Christina Castaldo 0 0-0 0, Morgan Lumb 6 1-2 15, Megan Collins 4 0-1 8, Michaela Mello 3 0-0 6. Totals 16 4-7 38
agateText:3-pointers:@zzAgate:agateText: T — Sara Semenza 2; NA — Lumb 2
agateText:Tewksbury (10-10):@zzAgate:agateText: 8 9 8 9 — 34
agateText:North Andover (13-8):@zzAgate:agateText: 7 7 13 11 — 38