BILLERICA – After winning three games in a row, and needing just three more to qualify for the state tournament, the Tewksbury Memorial High School girls' basketball team had a tall order on Tuesday night, a road game against a solid 6-3 Billerica club.
In this game, the Redmen struggled in almost all facets of the game especially shooting, while turning the ball over ten times in the second half. Tewksbury went 0-for-11 from three-point land, scored just one field goal in each of the first and third quarters and were outrebounded 12-3 in the first eight minutes. All of that, plus a solid defensive team, led to a 44-21 defeat.
"We couldn't buy a basket," said Redmen head coach Mark Bradley. "We did hold a pretty good Billerica team down (offensively) until they hit a few shots at the end to blow it open. It was a slow start for us, and then we didn't hot a basket until real late in the third (quarter). We dug ourselves in a hole and then we dug ourselves back. I thought we had some good shot attempts that just weren't falling."
Billerica senior captain Taylor Gibson played very well defensively and was able to hold Allie Wild down to six points, and that was helped by Tewksbury's inability to hit any outside shots.
"It's something where these kids are going to want to have contested shots," said Bradley. "An open shot is an open shot, but a contested shot is a contested shot. We also made some mistakes that got us into trouble but the effort is there. This is a large school opponent and they are a good program, they have speed, they have size and we are without one of our starting players.
“It's just frustrating because (the kids) do work hard, but some of the mistakes that they make we try to correct it, but those keep happening."
Billerica started out on an 8-0 run to open the game forcing Bradley to call a timeout with 4:24 left in the first. Wild then scored the team's first basket off her own steal coming at 3:58 of the first. Lexi Polimeno hit two free throws and that was the team's scoring in the first.
Billerica led 18-6 with 4:45 left in the second, before Tewksbury showed some life going on a 6-0 run to close the half out, down by six, while holding Billerica without a field goal throughout that time span. Madison Stovesand, Polimeno and Wild all had the field goals.
Trailing 18-12 at half, Tewksbury couldn't carry that momentum into the third quarter, outscored 7-0 until Stovesand scored on a put back with about 30 seconds left in the third.
Wild opened the fourth hitting two free throws and MaryKate Callahan followed with a bucket coming off her second offensive rebound in a mad scramble underneath the basket to cut it down to seven with 6:42 left. Billerica then outscored the Redmen 19-3 the rest of the way with Madison Watford connecting on two treys to all but seal the victory.
Last Friday, Tewksbury beat a much improved Dracut team, 52-48. The Redmen struggled from the free throw line going 15-for-30 and also struggled going less than 30 percent from the floor. Yet, Lexi Polimeno finished with 17 and Wild had 14.
Tewksbury had a real tough stretch coming up with road games at Central on Friday, North Andover on Sunday and Haverhill on Tuesday, and then Chelmsford on Friday, the 31st. Both Central and Chelmsford are 9-1, while NA is 6-4 and beat Tewksbury at the buzzer, and Haverhill is 5-6.