Published in the January 21, 2016 edition
By DAN NUNN
NORTH READING — With their victory over the Manchester-Essex Hornets on Friday night the Cape Ann League–leading Lady Hornets qualified for the state tournament for the fifth consecutive season. North Reading is currently ranked 11th in the Boston Globe Top 20 Poll and is tied with Pentucket for first place in the CAL.
Squeak Past Ipswich, 47-41
Senior Jess Lezon had another dominant performance with 21 points, 18 rebounds and 6 blocks to carry the Hornets past the Ipswich Tigers 47-41 on January 12.
The first quarter started off tightly contested and at 5:43 was tied 4-4. But from that point it was all Tigers. They closed the quarter on a 16-6 run racing out to a 20-10 lead after one. In the second quarter it was the Hornets who caught fire. They responded to the Ipswich run by outscoring the Tigers 23-4 in the quarter to take a 33-24 halftime lead.
The third quarter was a defensive struggle with both teams combining for 10 points. North Reading increased the lead to 39-28 by the start of the fourth. The Tigers were held at bay in the final quarter and the closest Ipswich got was within four.
Demolish Manchester-Essex, 66-42
Senior captain Carly Swartz had the best performance of her varsity career with 26 points including six three pointers to lead the Hornets past Manchester-Essex 66-42 on Friday night. Jess Lezon continued to dominate in the low post adding in her seventh double-double of the season with 17 points and 23 rebounds.
North Reading’s offense exploded out of the gates in the first quarter. They opened the game on a 15-0 run and went on to score an incredible 31 points in the quarter. The lead was 31-9 after one.
The offense continued the onslaught in the first half of the second quarter. After a Swartz free throw at 3:51 the lead ballooned to 38-13. Manchester-Essex tried to fight back but could only trim the deficit to 17 at the half. The Hornets maintained a 20 point lead almost the entire second half and cruised to the 24 point victory.
Dethrone Royals, 64-50
Jess Lezon recorded her fourth straight double-double with an amazing 31 points and 21 rebounds as the Hornets won their ninth straight defeating the Georgetown Royals 64-50 Monday afternoon. (More information in the January 28 issue of the Transcript)