Published in the March 10, 2016 edition
By DAN NUNN
NORTH READING — Senior captains Jess Lezon and Carly Swartz’s double-doubles keyed the Hornets victory over the Manchester–Essex Hornets, 67–56 in the Division 3 North Quarterfinals on March 3. Lezon had 24 points, 19 of which came in the second half, and 18 rebounds. Swartz scored 17 to go along with 11 assists.
Neither offense got off to a great start in the first quarter. Sixteen fouls were called in the quarter which threw off the rhythm of both offenses. At the end of the first Manchester–Essex was only up 12-10.
Saddled with two fouls Lezon spent most of the second quarter on the bench. As a result North Reading struggled on the offensive end and were forced to use a timeout at the 5:03 mark after Manchester took a 19–15 lead.
The Hornets responded after the timeout outscoring Manchester 10–4 to take a 25–23 lead at 1:26. But late in the second North Reading lost the lead and it looked like they were going to head into halftime down by two. Fortunately, Swartz hit a three with 15 seconds left to give the Hornets a 28-27 lead at the half.
Early in the third Manchester retook the lead at 31–30. For the rest of the quarter though it was all North Reading. They closed with a 13–5 run and took a 43–35 lead into the final quarter. Lezon simply took over in the fourth. She couldn’t be contained scoring 15 of North Reading’s 24 points. North Reading went up by as much as 15 and coasted to victory.
The girls were scheduled to take on Latin Academy last night, (March 9), at the Mystic Valley Charter School in Malden. More about that game next week. If North Reading wins, they will play either Bishop Fenwick or St. Mary’s for the Division 3 North crown on Saturday, March 12.