By Ruslan Crosby
The sixth-seeded Newton South girls’ basketball team upset crosstown rival Newton North, the three seed, by a score of 59-45 to advance to the semifinals of the Division 1 South section. The Lions were led by junior captain Veronica Burton who ended the night with 31 points, 14 rebounds, and 6 assists.
The Lions and Tigers were even in the first half of the contest. Anchored by tough defense the Lions went into the half with a 28-24 lead.
In the second half, the Lions were able to pull away. Senior captain Ali Nislick credits this to their high level of energy all throughout the game.
“We just kept our energy high, and played through the end,” she said.
South also came into the game well prepared for anything that North would throw at them. The Lions made sure to be ready for in game situations throughout their practices.
“We knew some of their offensive sets, so we practiced guarding them. I think that helped us,” Nislick said.
Knowing that one loss eliminates a team from the tournament, South played the entire game with full intensity and effort. The rowdy fans provided an extra spark of motivation for the Lions.
“We all knew the urgency of the situation. The game was do or die,” said Nislick.
The Lions were able to get Burton, Nislick, and other shooters such as junior Paige Ollivierre open looks with ball movement and off ball screens.
“We just played unselfishly and never settled for an average shot when we knew we could get a great one,” Nislick said
Finding the hot hand, in this case Burton’s, has been a crucial component of the Lion’s offensive attack all season.
“When a girl is shooting [well], you need to feed her the ball,” senior captain Zoe Foster added.
Burton commented that she just tried to do what the team needed by shooting frequently yet consistently.
“I just came in really focused to help my team in whatever way I needed. If that means shoot the ball, shoot it,” Burton said. “We always are trying to look for the best option, and we got a lot of our team open, so when I saw them open I would pass to them.”
With this win, the girls’ basketball team moves on to the Division 1 South sectional semi-finals where they will play Braintree at Massasoit Community College in Brockton on March 8th at 7:30 p.m.