BURLINGTON — North Andover girls basketball began this year 9-1 and looked like a legitimate Division 2 title contender.
Then, the Scarlet Knights lost their star Morgan Lumb (high ankle sprain) and dropped five of their next six contests with Lumb sidelined.
But Lumb is back and so are the mighty again Scarlet Knights, who moved to the Division 2 North finals for the first time since 1992.
Lumb, who returned Feb. 10, has helped North Andover win five straight games since Feb. 15, including a 61-34 victory over Belmont last night.
Lumb poured in a game-high 21 points, including netting five 3-pointers, and recorded seven steals, four rebounds and five assists. Meanwhile, fellow senior Michaela Mello exploded in the second half, scoring 10 points in the third quarter as North Andover increased a two-point halftime lead into a 13-point advantage heading into the fourth quarter. Mello also added eight rebounds and four steals. North Andover, the tourney’s sixth seed, will play the winner of the other semifinal between top-seeded Reading and No. 4 Wilmington on Saturday at the Tsongas Center.
“My mental toughness definitely helped me get through this injury,” Lumb said. “And if I didn’t have my teammates and coaches to push me through, I don’t think I’d ever be able to do it. I thank God every day that I have this opportunity to be back here and now we’re going to Tsongas (Center).”
Lumb’s doctor told her she was lucky she didn’t break a bone because the sprain was so bad.
“It healed a lot faster than I thought,” Lumb said.
Lumb was proud of Mello’s effort.
“Every single pass that I (threw) to her, she hit every single shot,” Lumb said. “We’ve been practicing that at practice the whole year. And we’ve been playing together since fifth grade. So it’s a big win for me, Pam (Coufos) and Michaela, (the three seniors).”