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By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Two of the area’s top girls basketball programs faced off on Thursday evening as the No. 17 Walpole Lady-Rebels took the quick trip down Common Street to face off against the No. 10 Medfield Warriors.
Behind a game-high 18-point performance by senior captain and guard Bridget Lanchester, the Rebels (8-1, 3-0) outlasted the Maggie McCarthy-led Warriors (10-3, 6-1) for a big 50-43 victory.
A pair of three-pointers by Lanchester got the Rebels off to a hot start. A layup by Sydney Scales gave Walpole an 11-10 lead with a little over two minutes to play in the opening quarter, but Medfield responded via back-to-back layups by junior captain and guard Erin Seibel (seven points, six rebounds, four assists) along with a three-pointer by the Harvard-bound McCarthy (17 points, 14 rebounds) to take a 15-12 lead at the end of one.
A layup by junior forward Jill White (10 points) along with a three-pointer by Lanchester capped off a 15-7 run by the Rebels throughout the second quarter, as Walpole entered halftime with a 27-19 lead.
Following the break, Medfield scored six consecutive points after surrendering an early layup to Scales, as a 3-point play by sophomore forward Ceanna Kinney (11 points, eight rebounds), a free throw by senior captain and guard Emma Anderson, and a layup by McCarthy cut the deficit to just four at 29-25. The quick 6-0 run by the Warriors forced Walpole to call a timeout.
Following the stoppage, McCarthy swished home a three-pointer to tie the game at 33 with a little under six minutes to play in the quarter. Walpole responded with a 6-0 run to conclude the quarter, however, thanks to a two-point jumper by sophomore shooting guard Elisabeth Roche, a layup by Lanchester, and a pair of free throws by Selena Giampa (six points) to take a 39-33 lead into the fourth quarter.
Medfield cut the deficit to 41-37 midway through the fourth quarter, but Walpole extended the lead back to seven points at 45-38 with 2:37 to play, thanks to a running jumper by Scales. With 1:35 to play, Kinney cut the deficit to just three for Medfield at 45-42 with a two-point bank shot before a free throw by McCarthy cut the deficit to 45-43. Following the McCarthy free throw, Walpole responded with a layup by Scales and a game-clinching three-pointer by Lanchester with 30 seconds remaining to extend the lead back to seven at 50-43.
Lanchester and company will look to continue their winning ways when the Rebels host Milton on January 26, while the Warriors will try and get back on track against Westwood that same night.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0, or read his blog at www.flannylive.wordpress.com.