LEXINGTON — The Woburn High girls’ basketball team officially claimed a share of the Middlesex League Liberty title with an authoritative, 58-29 victory over Lexington, Friday evening at Lord Gym.
The Minutemaids were one of the two teams in second place going into the contest. Belmont held off Reading to remain in contention for a share. The Tanners can win it outright with a victory over Watertown, Tuesday night.
Woburn got off to a great start, taking a 12-point lead after one, and had Lexington doubled up at the half, 30-15. The Minutemaids are a team built to grind out victories in close games, and the Tanners easily added to their lead and pulled away in the second half.
The Tanners improve to 13-1 overall and 12-0 in the Middlesex League Liberty. This gives them a four-game lead over second-place Belmont with four league games left to play.
“We got off to a fast start and I really think we did a nice job pressuring them,” said Woburn coach Steve Sullivan, whose teams have at least a share of six of the last seven ML Liberty titles. “We hit some shots early and we moved the ball. We are getting better at moving the ball and working on getting a good shot every time down.”
The Tanners hot start included three of their five 3-pointers for the game, one each from Megan Roderick, Ashlyn Pacheco and Bridget Guiendon. Those three hoops keyed a 16-3 start, which also included baskets from Meghan Qualey and Carley Dangora, and a second basket from Pacheco (15 points).
“If we can continue to get better offensively; move the ball and value the ball, and play good defense, we could be pretty decent,” said Sullivan.
The Minutemaids finally got their first basket of the game from Marisa Boni with 32 seconds left in the quarter, and Woburn led 18-6 after one.
Pacheco fed Jenna Taylor for the first basket of the second quarter, and Guiendon buried her second three to boost the Tanners’ lead to 15 points, 23-8.
Lexington had some opportunities at the free throw line but went 5-for-11 in the first half, and the Minutemaids’ top two players, forwards Kirea Snell and Maggie O’Neil, were held without a field goal in the first half.
“Lexington is a very tough, physical team with some great players,” said Sullivan. “Our bigs did a good job staying connected with them, battling them down low, and our guards were able to turn them over, which led to some transition baskets down the court.”
Pacheco completed a nine-point first half with a steal and layup, and Cyndea Labissiere used the glass for a bank shot that got the Woburn lead to 16 points, 27-11.
It was 30-15 at the half, and the Tanner co-captains, Pacheco and Roderick, got their team going in the second half with a drive and short jump shot, plus a steal and layup to get the lead to 17. A Dangora rebound, inside to a layup, plus a Guiendon dish to Labissiere got the lead up to 19, and began an 8-0 run that was capped by back-to-back layups for Pacheco, the second off a steal.
It was 45-24, early in the fourth, when Woburn applied the knockout punch, a 7-0 run that included a banked 3-pointer from Labissiere, and shorter buckets from Grace Sgroi and Kelsey Doherty.
Sullivan was able to get everyone some playing time by the mid-point of the fourth quarter. Ciana Dickey made the most of it with a quick basket when she got in, and Casey Dangora scored the last two Tanner baskets in the 58-29 final.