By DAN NUNN
Downed by Chieftains 52-44
NORTH READING — The Lady Hornets suffered their first Cape Ann League loss of the season at the hands of the Masconomet Chieftains 52-44 on January 3. Sophomore Katerina Hassapis was the only Hornet in double figures with 12 points.
Offense was tough to come by for North Reading in first quarter. Masco blitzed the Hornets, outscoring them 17-2 to open the game. But a three from junior Julia McDonald, with one second remaining in the first, made it 17-5 and would help to ignite North Reading in the second quarter.
The Hornets’ tenacious defense fed the offense in the second quarter. They outscored the Chieftains 14-1 and held Masco to zero field goals. North Reading went into the half with a 19-18 lead.
Unfortunately Masco caught fire from the 3-point line in the third. The Chieftains took advantage of poor defense, draining five 3’s in the quarter. The Hornets were outscored 19-7 and found themselves down 37-26 at the start of the fourth quarter.
Midway through the final quarter the lead ballooned to 42-28. The Hornets tried to fight back and were only down six at the 2:37 mark. But that was the closest they would get as they lost 52-44.
Beaten by Pentucket 53-39
The Hornets lost their second straight conference game, falling to the Pentucket Sachems 53-39 on January 6. Junior Carli Eldridge led the Hornets with 10 points and six rebounds.
North Reading got off to a good start. At the 5:15 mark they clung to a slim 9-8 lead. But the Sachems responded and closed the first quarter on a 7-0 run to take a 15-9 lead after one.
The Hornets battled back in the second quarter. After Pentucket opened the second with a free throw, to go up by seven, North Reading responded with an 8-0 run to take a 17-16 lead at 4:51. The Sachems briefly re-took the lead but juniors Carly Swartz and Jess Lezon both scored with under a minute remaining to give the Hornets a 27-26 halftime lead.
Early on in the third quarter the Hornets expanded the lead to 30-26. But unfortunately Pentucket answered with a 14-2 run and led 40-32 after three. The Sachems went up by as much as 16 in the fourth and won easily 53-39.
Lose tough one at M-E 42-39
The Hornets lost their third straight game, falling to the Manchester-Essex Hornets 42-39 on the road Friday night. Junior Jess Lezon had a solid game with 12 points and 14 rebounds.
It was a back and forth first quarter. After a 3-pointer from Swartz at the 2:03 mark North Reading went up 12-10. But Manchester-Essex quickly added two baskets and took a 15-12 lead after one. They extended their run to 10-2 and expanded their lead to 20-14 early in the second quarter. The Hornets fought back and a late bucket from senior captain Frankie Elliott gave them a 24-23 halftime lead.
It was a battle in the second half. Neither team led by more than three points. With 39 seconds remaining Lezon hit a free throw to give North Reading a 39-38 lead. Unfortunately Manchester-Essex was clutch down the stretch and went on to three-point victory.
The string of losses dropped the team’s league record to 3-3 and overall record to 4-4.
The Lady Hornets traveled to Georgetown Tuesday after press time. They will host Essex Tech on Friday, Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. and will host the Indians of Amesbury on Martin Luther King Day, Jan. 19, with a 1 p.m. tip-off.