Lawrence girls squad shows pride in fourth-quarter comeback attempt

Lawrence girls basketball

By: Jim Green
   The Lawrence High School girls basketball team showed what it is capable of during the fourth quarter of its John Molinelli Memorial Holiday Tournament consolation game against Hopewell Valley.
   The Cardinals used aggressive offense and stifling defense to go on a 14-0 run and pull within eight points of the host team in the final period of the Dec. 29 contest. But the Lady Bulldogs’ 20-point lead at the end of three quarters proved to be too much for Lawrence, which could not pull all the way even. In the end, the Cardinals suffered a 46-31 loss for their third straight defeat, falling to 1-5 on the season.
   "The effort was there the whole game," Lawrence coach Gregg Zenerovitz said. "That’s expected — to give effort all four quarters. The girls gave it. Any coach expects that out of their team."
   Guard Ashley Russo continued her fine play, leading the Cardinals with 12 points. Guards Krista Regan (seven points), Lisa Tamulis (four), Laquisha Spencer (four) and Leronda Aviles (four) also made solid contributions.
   But the Cardinals struggled to contain Hopewell’s tall forwards, Ali Newman, who scored a game-high 21 points, and Suzie Noyes, who chipped in with seven. Much like opening night, when Notre Dame’s Korinne Campbell exploded for 36 points against it, Lawrence’s smallish lineup could not prevent Hopewell from getting easy baskets in the paint. In the second quarter, Newman accounted for 10 points — including eight on put-backs — as the Lady Bulldogs went on a 12-0 run that expanded their lead from four to 16 at halftime.
   "In the second quarter, we weren’t boxing out," Zenerovitz said. "They’re tall, but no matter what, you still have to box out. The halfcourt defense was better, and we have to finish that with boxing out."
   The two teams went back and forth in the third quarter, with Lawrence getting a 3-pointer from Regan and individual baskets from Aviles and Spencer. But Hopewell finished the period with four unanswered points to take a 37-17 lead into the fourth.
   In that fourth quarter, Russo netted eight points, and Tamulis added four, as the Cardinals ran off 14 straight points to close the gap to 39-31 with 1:28 left. But the Lady Bulldogs regained their composure and closed the game out on a 7-0 run.
   The Cardinals were coming off a 63-40 loss to Pennington a day earlier in the first round of the tournament. Russo dropped in 16 points, while Regan had 10, and Spencer contributed five. The Cardinals were outscored 39-15 over the second and third quarters.
   "The team chemistry wasn’t there," Zenerovitz said. "I think it improved against Hopewell. There’s a lot of things to work on."
   The Cardinals next will take the court Thursday at Steinert.
   "It’s a long season still," Zenerovitz said. "We have to play as a team."