Published in the March 17, 2016 edition

SENIOR JULIA MCDONALD, who played a great game against Bishop Fenwick, looks to pass the ball on her way to the hoop. (John Friberg Photo)

SENIOR JULIA MCDONALD, who played a great game against Bishop Fenwick, looks to pass the ball on her way to the hoop. (John Friberg Photo)


NORTH READING — The Lady Hornets’ superb 2016 varsity basketball season came to an end at the hands of the Bishop Fenwick Crusaders who defeated North Reading 65-47 to win the Division 3 North State Sectional Title on Saturday night. Even with the loss the team accomplished some history. They are the first girls’ team in NRHS history to make it to the North Finals, won their first CAL title in 23 years and finished 20–3 which is a school record for wins.

Dismantle Latin Academy in North Semifinal

The Lady Hornets dismantled the Boston Latin Academy Dragons 69–36 in the North Semifinal on March 9. Senior captain Jess Lezon recorded her 17th double-double of the season with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Fellow senior captain Carly Swartz and freshman Casey McAuliffe chipped in with 10 points apiece.

North Reading got off to a great start and raced out to a 14–4 lead at the 3:14 mark of the first quarter. But the Hornets got a little sloppy on offense and allowed the Dragons to trim the lead to 14–10 at 5:56 of the second quarter. After a timeout at the 5:13 mark though the Hornets erupted. They closed the second on a blistering 19–3 run and thanks to a three at the buzzer by McAuliffe took a commanding 33-13 halftime lead.

North Reading continued to expand the lead and were never challenged in the second half. The closest the Dragons would get was within 17 points. Head coach Bob Melillo emptied the bench in the fourth and the Hornets cruised to the easy win.

Stopped by Crusaders, 65-47

Jess Lezon led the way with 15 points, 18 rebounds and 4 blocks. Carly Swartz added 14 points and junior Katerina Hassapis had 11 points, but the Bishop Fenwick Crusaders were too much for the Hornets in the finals, played Saturday night at Whittier Tech in Haverhill.

North Reading and especially Hassapis got off to a good start. She scored six of their first nine points and the Hornets raced out to a 9–3 lead at the 4:20 mark of the first quarter. The Crusaders got back in the game though and cut the score to 9–7 after one.

The Hornets continued to play well and opened up a 14–7 lead less than a minute into the second quarter. But unfortunately things fell apart and the Crusaders took over for the rest of the quarter. Bishop Fenwick closed the first half on a 23–5 run and turned a seven point deficit into a 30–19 halftime lead.

North Reading managed to cut deficit to 30–22 early in the third quarter. But once again the Crusaders expanded the lead. They outscored North Reading 20-9 the rest of the third and took a commanding 50–31 to the fourth. In the fourth quarter the closest the Hornets could get would be within 16. Bishop Fenwick rolled to victory.