By Christopher Smith
---- — NORTH ANDOVER — North Andover’s plan was pretty straight forward on how to stop Methuen’s talented 5-10 forwards Abby Galloway-Burke and Amanda Petrow.
“We tried to stop them from getting the ball,” North Andover guard Morgan Lumb said. “Once they get the ball, if they miss, it’s hard for us to get a rebound because they’re so much stronger and bigger than us. So we had to pressure their guards the whole entire way and try to force turnovers up there instead of let (Galloway-Burke and Petrow) get the ball.”
The plan worked to perfection.
North Andover forced a slew of turnovers and held Petrow (2 points) and Galloway-Burke (14) to a combined 16 points. The Scarlet Knights rolled to an impressive 52-32 victory here in the first round of the 27th annual Greater Lawrence Girls Christmas Tournament at North Andover High.
“That’s obviously huge,” North Andover coach Sue Breen said about the forced turnovers her team made. “That was the difference in that third quarter.”
The Scarlets Knights played especially strong defense in the third, holding the Rangers to just three points.
Methuen coach Karen McLaughlin said, “In order to beat North Andover, a very, very good team, we needed to come with a complete package with our inside and our outside game and we didn’t do that. Very disappointing. ... We played horrible in all aspects of the game. We were 1 from 13 from the (foul) line.
“We have to make better decisions on the court — more court awareness. Our passing was horrendous. We had more turnovers than a bakery.”
In the fourth quarter, Morgan Lumb threw an outlet pass to Pam Coufos, who tossed a bounce pass to Leah Chittick for an uncontested layup. It was one of the prettier fastbreaks you’ll see.
“I just ran the floor,” Chittick said. “It’s what I do best.”
Lumb added: “Us three guards know how to read each other. We look at each other in the eyes. And when we make eye contact we know to go backdoor. When I get the rebound, they break and we get fastbreaks. That’s how we’re going to not be stopped.”
Chittick nets 10
Lumb had a typically fine game with 20 points. Chittick, a sophomore guard, showed she can score, too. She finished with 10 points, all in the second half.
“She had just an outstanding freshman season,” Breen said about Chittick. “She was a sixth player last year and this year she starts. It’s a nice luxury to have because I don’t have to have Pam Coufos guard the point guard. So I think our defense can be sort of in waves because Pam is one of the best and Leah just never gets tired. Her tenacity is just amazing. She’s a great on-the-ball defender.”
North Andover 52, Methuen 32
Methuen (32): Madison Carroll 1-0-2, Nicole Carroll 0-0-0, Murphy Carroll 3-0-9, Roseli Rodriguez 0-0-0, Kelly Dorandi 0-0-0, Mollie Condon 0-0-0, Lexi Hardy 0-1-1, Tyra Scott 2-0-4, Courtney Zacharias 0-0-0, Abby Galloway-Burke 7-0-14, Amanda Petrow 1-0-2. Totals 14-1-32
North Andover (52): Pam Coufos 2-0-4, Abbie Karalis 1-0-2, Leah Chittick 5-0-10, Mackenzie Mello 2-2-7, Christina Castaldo 1-1-3, Morgan Lumb 7-4-20, Megan Collins 0-0-0, Michaela Mello 3-0-6. Totals 21-7-52
3-pointers: M — Murphy Carroll 3; NA — Lumb 2, Ma. Mello
Methuen (3-1): 7 15 3 7 — 32
North Andover (4-0): 15 13 13 11 — 52