The Natick girls basketball team fell to Braintree last night, 54-44, in a game that was a tale of two halves.
"We're all about the little things," Braintree coach Kristen McDonnell said after the win. "We pride ourselves on defense. We pride ourselves on defense. We didn't do that early on. We can't just turn on our offense without those things."
With the loss, the Red Hawks fall to 5-8, while the Wamps improve their record on the season to 13-2.
Natick led for most of the first half. The Red Hawks came out running, putting the pressure on the Wamps. Junior guard Katie Anderson drove down the lane and scored to extend Natick's lead to 11-8 at the 4:20 mark in the first quarter, and shortly thereafter senior Lauren McCall (14 points) knocked down a 3-pointer, forcing Braintree to call a timeout.
"We talked about throwing the fear out the window," Natick coach Dan Hinnenkamp said. "We knew their defense is spectacular, so we didn't want to slow it down. I told them 'Have no fear. Take it right to them. We're not going to give it up down low. The girls did a great job."
Natick would extend their lead to as much as 8 at 16-8, but Braintree wouldn't let it get any more than that. Sisters Bridget (13 points) and Brianna (14 points) Herlihy led the way for the Wamps, using their defense to force turnovers and grabbing offensive rebounds while leading the Wamps' offensive attack.
"It's youth," McDonnell said. "The seniors want it bad. The younger players need to step up. We're not playing to the level we can. That being said, we gritted it out in the end. Natick is talented."