TOWNSEND -- The Lady Patriots' attempt to send their seniors off in style went up in smoke in the fourth quarter as Oakmont squeaked past North Middlesex 60-59 Monday night inside Bartlett Gymnasium. Junior forward Mackensey Farina exploded in the second half to lead the Lady Patriots with 20 points, and nine rebounds.
"(Oakmont) had the friendly rims and we didn't," said North Middlesex head coach Pat Murphy. "They shot really well. Wood came out of the shoot and had four threes in the first half. Three of them were preventable. I think our kids were so excited about senior night and they were too high. We got the flow going in the second half, but we didn't get the ball inside."
The key coming into the game was to stop Oakmont's Amanda Wood, and Wood was not having any of that as she had a game-high 24 points. None of those 24 points were more critical for the Lady Spartans than the two free-throws she canned with 4.4 seconds left to secure the win.
Both teams came out fast and furious in the first quarter. Wood found her groove knocking down four three-point baskets in the opening quarter to put the Lady Patriots down by as much as eight in the quarter.
Balassie (12 points, seven rebounds) knocked down a three-pointer off a great feed from her senior classmate Ashley Rosko to bring the Lady Patriots within three, 13-10, with 3:25 remaining.
Oakmont closed the quarter on a 7-2 run capped off by a Wood three-point ball to push the Lady
Later in the quarter, North Middlesex tied the game on a driving layup from Kim Morgan with 3:23 left in the half. On the ensuing Lady Patriots' drive, Morgan rattled home a three-point basket from the right corner to tie the game at 26-26.
Wood went eye-for-an-eye with Morgan with a three-point basket from the top of the key on the Lady Spartans' next possession. Oakmont pushed their lead to five at the end of the quarter when Rachel Quaye completed the backend of the old-fashioned three-point play to give the Lady Spartans a 32-27 lead at halftime.
North Middlesex was reeling at the start of the second half, as the Lady Spartans jumped out to an 8-3 run to begin the quarter. The Lady Patriots mounted a comeback after Morgan connected with a deep three-pointer off a bounce-pass from Balassie to cut the Lady Spartans lead to 42-35 with 1:25 remaining in the third quarter. Wood stormed down the hardwood and flushed home another three-pointer to up the Lady Spartans lead to 10.
Seniors Sam Lynch, Casey McNamara, Kim Morgan, Ashley Rosko, Maddie Balassie and Christiana Roszik were all honored prior to their final game.