GROTON -- Ayer Shirley used a 10-2 third quarter run to help spark its 37-28 Pete Trainor Tournament victory over Oakmont Monday night at Groton-Dunstable Regional High School. The Lady Panthers were led by senior captain Gabby Hebert who turned in a double-double performance with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Defensively, Hebert contributed three steals.
Oakmont senior captain Josie Dearborn led the Lady Spartans with 14 points and two rebounds. Dearborn helped spearhead Oakmont's fearless fury in the final minute to bring the deficit into single digits.
"We thought we could eat a few minutes with some sub players and that went south," Lady Panthers head coach Pete Page said. "At the end of the game we didn't have the same defensive intensity like we had at the start. The girls were flat-footed and they were making bad reaching fouls. We felt like we could run them. That 10-2 run, we were just running them up the floor. That certainly helped our cause."
The first quarter got off to a sluggish start for both teams, but a free throw by Dearborn broke the 0-0 stalemate halfway through the first quarter. Ayer Shirley trailed by as much as three points in the first quarter, but Hebert's mid range jumper heated things up. Twenty seconds later, Ayer Shirley forced an Oakmont turnover and Olivia Warilla finished with a jump shot from inside the right elbow to put the Panthers up 4-3. Haley Maciel rattled home a lay-up for Oakmont to regain the lead, but it would be short-lived.
Ayer Shirley senior captain Tina Babcock stroked a high-arcing three-point bomb from the right corner to give the Lady Panthers a 7-5 lead at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Oakmont and Ayer Shirley traded baskets, but it was Ayer Shirley that would have the last laugh. The Lady Panthers, behind the strong play of Hebert and Melissa Belanger, jumped out to a 20-13 lead at the half.
Basketball is a game of runs -- and the Lady Panthers certainly made theirs count midway through the third quarter. Hebert helped to kick-start the 10-2 run with a strong spin move in between the blocks, coupled with a nifty off-the-glass finish. Hebert would knock down a three-point basket later in the sequence to extend Ayer Shirley's lead to 25-17.
The Lady Panthers extended their lead to 31-17, but Dearborn put the brakes on the Ayer Shirley run with a pin-point jumper from inside the paint. Ayer Shirley held a 34-21 at the end of three quarters -- it's run would prove to be the difference-maker in the final quarter of play.
Sophomore point guard Hailey Young slashed-and-dashed her way through the paint in the fourth quarter and converted from the foul line. Young pitched in with 10 points, four of which were from the free-throw line.
"I don't know how many lay-ups we missed," Page said. "We needed to finish better. I was pleased that we were making the cuts and finding the open person. I am happy that we are at least at the point where we are finding the open person. Finishing will come with time."