AYER -- Friday night's Mid-Wach D league clash between Bromfield and Ayer-Shirley was a sloppy one that featured a combined 24 turnovers in the first half. The Lady Trojans picked up the tempo in the second half and bounded past the Panthers, 41-32. Freshman center Amanda Accorsi led Bromfield to victory with a double-double, 10 points and 11 rebounds.
"Overall it is another good win against another good team," said Bromfield head coach Mike Dube. "I knew (Ayer-Shirley) were going to have a little fight in them at the end. I was just hoping we could counter that. Osgood did a great job shutting down Peck."
Ayer-Shirley scored the first basket of the game, but that would be the only lead they would see.
The two teams met earlier in the season at Bromfield High School, with the Lady Trojans winning that contest by 19. Bromfield secured their berth in the postseason with a win over Littleton a week ago. Ayer-Shirley remains in the hunt as they enter must-win territory as the season comes to a close. The Lady Panthers need to go 2-2 in their remaining league games to qualify for the Division 3 small school district tournament.
"We battled back in the second half," said Ayer-Shirley head coach Pete Page. "We outscored them 15-9 in the fourth quarter. If we had another five minutes, maybe we could have got back in it. It's a 32-minute game."
The first quarter was one both coaches would love to forget. Neither team could find a rhythm as the rims weren't feeling very kind. It took 1:30 before either team would put one through the cylinder. Gabby Hebert connected on a slashing layup off a great feed from senior point guard Emily Megan with 5:30 remaining in the quarter for the 2-0 lead.
Following the Hebert basket, Bromfield would motor out to a 9-1 run highlighted by a Casey Magrath splashdown three-pointer from the top of the key with 2:30 left.
Megan would find Hebert for a spot-up jump shot that brought the Lady Panthers within four as the quarter came to a close, 9-5.
Free-throw shooting was the trend in the second quarter as half of the quarters' combined eight points were scored from the charity stripe. Magrath was fouled as she went up strong to the basket. Magrath flushed both free-throws to extend the Lady Trojans' lead to six, 11-5. Anna Peck did a great job crashing the glass after Megan back-rimmed her second free-throw, and laid it in to bring the Panthers within three, 11-8. Bromfield closed the quarter on a 3-0 run as Rylee Osgood uncorked a beautiful jump-shot with under a minute left to complete the first-half scoring, 14-8.
The play started to gain momentum in the second half as Bromfield galloped out to a 11-0 run. Montana Burke hit a step-up three-point missile to extend the Lady Trojans' lead to 19-8 with 6:17 remaining in the quarter. Bromfield led by as much as 16 in the third quarter. Accorsi nailed a mid-range jumper as the buzzer bellowed at the end of the third, with Bromfield up comfortably 32-16.
Ayer-Shirley refused to pack it in and continued to battle valiantly in the fourth. Megan knocked down a three-pointer at the top of the key to reenergize the Panthers' faithful and dig into the Lady Trojans' lead, 32-21. Bromfield continued to counter-punch as soon as Ayer-Shirley would gain some momentum. The Panthers would cut Bromfield's lead to single digits in the fourth, but it was too little, too late.
Ayer-Shirley was led in scoring by a gritty performance of freshman Hallie Young, who contributed 10 points off the bench.
"Hailee Young was one of the bright spots for us tonight," said Page. "Young is a freshman, and she is pretty fearless going to the basket. She got to the line five times tonight and that says to me that we need to do a better job. If she gets to line, we as a team need to do a better job doing that as well."