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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
A monster 23-point, 15-rebound performance by junior forward Jill White guided the Walpole High School girls basketball team to a thrilling 46-43 victory over Newton North last Tuesday evening to move the Lady-Rebels to 10-2 on the year and 5-1 in Bay State Conference play. Sophomore guard Sydney Scales also recorded a double-double for the Rebels with 11 points and a game-high 12 assists.
The Tigers (5-6, 2-5) and Rebels began the game exchanging blows, but eight first quarter points by White helped Walpole to a 13-12 lead at the end of one. The Rebels began the second quarter on a 13-6 run, thanks in large part to a three-point play by sophomore guard Ainsley Dundon, a three-pointer by senior captain and guard Bridget Lanchester, and a pair of layups by White. Newton North nabbed a layup just before the buzzer to cut the deficit to 27-21 at halftime.
A layup by Scales followed by three straight baskets by White allowed Walpole to extend its lead to as many as nine at 35-26 midway through the third quarter. However, during the end of the third and into the midpoint of the fourth, Newton North caught fire from beyond the arc, sinking three of four three-point attempts along with a trio of layups, and the Tigers stormed back with a 15-5 run to take their first lead of the game at 41-40 with a little over three minutes to play.
Walpole called timeout with 2:59 to play to try and settle things down, and the adjustments immediately worked wonders for the Rebels. With 2:30 remaining, White gave the Rebels back the lead at 42-41 with layup, followed by a two-point floater by Lanchester to extend the lead to three at 44-41 with 1:45 to play. A pair of free throws by Newton North cut the deficit down to one at 44-43, but White responded right back for the Rebels with a two-point jumper with 35 seconds to play to extend the lead back to three at 46-43. Newton North chose not to foul during the game’s final 10 seconds and instead went for the steal. Walpole put the ball in the hands of Scales – their best ball-handler, and the Lady-Rebs were able to chew out the remaining seconds on the clock and prevail with the three-point win.
At the time of print, White and company will look to continue their winning ways when the Rebels play host to Braintree on February 2.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0, or read his blog at www.flannylive.wordpress.com.