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Tilton, NH – For Spartans hoops fans, there was a bit of unwelcome déjà vu on Saturday, March 5, as the Lawrence Academy varsity girls’ basketball season ended on the floor of the Tilton Rams.
For the second straight season, Lawrence Academy (20-5), who advanced to the NEPSAC semifinal on the strength of a 45-39 victory over Suffield Academy at home on the Stone Courts on March 2, fell to Tilton School (21-6) in the NEPSAC Class B semifinal, this year by a score of 82-43.
“They are an extremely talented basketball team,” said Coach Mastrangelo of the situation her squad faced at Tilton, where a full gym of black and gold-clad fans waited for the road tripping Spartans. “We knew we were going to have a tough one today.
“They came [out strong] and [brought] their fans – It was tough.”
Tilton – winners of seven straight Lakes Region Championships – employed an extremely stringent defense, buoyed by a full court press, and an offense that features 1000-point scorer Giulia Orlando.
However, Coach Mastrangelo, whose team featured two 1000-point scorers of its own in Gabby Reuter ‘16 and Emily Pratt ‘16, chose to focus on the season-long toughness of her own group, which included talented seniors that capitalized on the efforts of the Class of 2015 and brought the program to the New England semifinal for the second year in a row.
“We've got to focus on what they did accomplish this year, and over the last couple of years,” said Mastrangelo, who reflected on her seniors, with Reuter and Pratt’s (two of just three girls in LA history to score more than 1000 points) accomplishments firmly in mind.
“I've been watching them all these years,” said Coach Mastrangelo. “After what they’ve done for us, this is going to be a tough goodbye.
“Cailey [Mastrangelo ’15] and Jaly [Marques ’15] were the start of it, then Pratty came into town and we did a little bit better and got over .500. Then Gabby came in and we finally made it to a tournament.
“Last year, we were 22-4 and this year 20-5. So, you know, it's a pretty good record these last couple of years,” she said.
And LA will look to add to those impressive records next winter.
“Next year we'll look to be back here - perhaps not in this place,” said Coach Mastrangelo, with a hint of a smile, as she looked to re-join her team in the visiting locker room in Tilton’s Memorial Athletic Recreational Center. “But when you're at a prep school like this, and you're together all the time…it becomes like family.
“This is going to be a hard goodbye there's no question about it.”
Congratulations to Coaches Mastrangelo & Margraf and the varsity girls' basketball team on a very successful season.