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By Maddie Gerber
Hometown Weekly Intern
Last Tuesday night, the Rockets managed to overcome a tough first half against Weymouth to eventually best the Wildcats, 60-31, adding another win to their already-impressive 5-1 record.
Although the girls had just come off an easy victory over King Philip’s last Saturday, they struggled in the first quarter with Weymouth’s strong defense, led by sophomore Savannah Striano, which prevented many scoring opportunities. By the end of the period, the Rockets had amassed only four points compared to Weymouth’s seven.
Nevertheless, the girls were undeterred according to senior captain Kelly Putnam. “We definitely came out to a slow start in the game,” Putnam acknowledged. “However, our coach talked to us after the first quarter, and the energy from the bench and the court is what really turned the game around for us.”
The Rockets entered the second quarter looking like a completely different team, with their skillful passing and communication allowing them to quickly bridge the three-point deficit between them and the Wildcats. An impressive three by junior Madison Shaker, followed by a series of layups by senior captain Kiara McIntyre, gave the Rockets a decisive lead, which they held on to due to equally strong defensive efforts. With less than two minutes left in the half, the Wildcats, who were still yet to score any points in the quarter, called a time-out. Although Weymouth came out stronger after the break, with freshman Larissa Gilberto scoring merely a few seconds in, the Rockets quickly countered with strategic plays by junior Caroline Klemm and McIntyre, bringing Needham to a 31-11 lead at the end of the first half.
Needham continued to build on its momentum in the third quarter, with an early score by senior captain Jenna Petronio and a series of impressive assists by McIntyre allowing the Rockets to dominate over the Wildcats. Skillful fast-breaks by Shaker created a 30 point deficit between the teams, which Weymouth’s Kerin McCarthy quickly countered with two impressive threes. Nonetheless, by the end of the third, the Rockets continued to lead, 53-25.
As the clock began to wind down in the fourth, both teams upped the intensity and the period was wrought with fouls, giving the girls many free-throw opportunities - and the Rockets took advantage. Sophomore Peyton Walker ended the game by giving the Rockets a hefty lead, nearly double that of the Wildcats, at 60-31.
In terms of the rest of the season, the girls look forward to continuing their winning streak. According to Putnam, “We are a team that loves each other and loves having fun, but we also love to win and can’t wait to do so as the season progresses.”