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Groton, MA – After surviving a scare from the Groton School, and engineering a hard-fought 60-52 victory against their crosstown ISL rivals, Lawrence Academy girls’ basketball will look across the state – way, way across the state – to their next opponent.
The Spartans tip off against the Berkshire School on Saturday, March 4, at 2:30 PM in Sheffield, Mass.
“Berkshire has had a great deal of success in recent years,” said LA Head Coach Mastrangelo on Friday morning, prior to practice in LA’s Stone Athletic Center. “Last year, they went 22-4 and got themselves to the championship game vs. Tilton.”
Fans will remember that LA’s last two runs to NEPSAC Championship dreams have been stopped short by those same Tilton Rams (who advanced to this year’s semifinals vs. Pomfret with a 67-34 win over St. George’s on March 1).
So, simply doing the math, the Spartans will have a tough task ahead of them.
“This year they returned nine key players and finished the regular season with a record of 18-3,” said Ms. Mastrangelo, stating the facts of the case. “They are known to be quick, athletic, and with many weapons on the offensive end.
“They can get it done out in the three range, on the block, and with strong penetration to the basket.”
To be sure, LA’s Spartans are no slouches, and Wednesday’s resilience in the first-round is the kind of muscle memory necessary to success in the playoffs.
However, despite that experience – and their strong play over an 11-game LA winning streak – Coach Mastrangelo made it abundantly clear that Lawrence Academy (17-6 overall, 9-2 ISL) will have to pack their best game with them for the long roadie to NEPSAC glory if they look to make a similar trip as a team to Windsor, Conn. on Sunday – the campus of Loomis Chaffee, where the NEPSAC Class B Girls’ Basketball Championship will be played at 3:15 PM.
“We are going to have to work hard as a team unit to make defensive stops,” said Mastrangelo, putting the onus on players and coaching staff. “On the offensive end, we have to play smart and with poise.
“When we are patient and execute our plays, we are successful,” added Coach to her prescription for victory. “We just need to keep that in our heads.”
Post-game on Wednesday, as soon as they saw the score come over Twitter, Ms. Mastrangelo said that her girls started thinking about Berkshire. However, transferring any momentum from their stirring victory over the Groton Zebras will be an exercise in kinetics, especially against a top opponent, in their own gym for the semis, looking to return to the finals (and perhaps exact a measure of revenge).
But Coach Mastrangelo and her own stalwarts are ready for the challenge.
“Yes, it is a bit of hike to get to Berkshire,” she said. “But it’s certainly an honor to be in this semi-final game and to be playing at this stage of the tournament!”
Directions to Berkshire School may be found via Google Maps.