North hits 1,000, wins with 3.3 seconds left

Written by Administrator
 | Wednesday, 22 February 2012 14:00

Junior Michela North scored 19 points last Tuesday night in Hingham to lead the Lady Dragons to an exciting 50-48 win over the Harborwomen. What made the evening even more special was the All-Star forward joined an elite group of women who have scored 1000 points in their DHS basketball careers.

North had an opportunity to break the 1000-point barrier with six seconds left in the first quarter, but her free throw bounced off the rim delaying the celebration by Duxbury fans. It didn’t seem to bother the forward who scored six points to give Duxbury a 17-5 lead after the first eight minutes of play. With anticipation growing on every trip down the court, Duxbury fans finally had their chance to cheer with 6:36 left in the second quarter when North buried a pair of free throws for 1001 career points: the fastest it has been done by any DHS female player. While the attention was certainly focused on North, it seemed everyone was getting into the act in the first half as eight players contributed offensively to Duxbury’s 29-12 halftime lead.

“The worst thing you can do is focus on it,” said Duxbury Coach Bob Sullivan. “I told them before the game that when Michela gets it, she gets it. We’re not going to run any special plays. Play as a team and she’ll get it. Obviously she did.”

Having beaten Hingham by 44 points in their first meeting, complacency seemed to have set in when the second half started.

Hingham’s Maggie McGonagle started to do some damage inside and brought her team back to within nine at 34-25, prompting Coach Tom Levett to call a timeout and give his troops a rest before they made another run. By the time the third quarter ended the Harborwomen had scored 17 points in the quarter and trailed 40-29 with eight minutes left in the game.

Kate Norton and Shannon McLaughlin opened the final quarter with buckets for what looked like an insurmountable 44-29 lead. But a brief run by Hingham cut the lead back to 46-36, as Levett decided his team had one more run in it.

When the teams came back on the floor, North hit two more of her game-high 19 with just under 4:40 left in the game. From that point on Hingham sophomore guard Haliegh Welch stole the spotlight, as she led a run with six of Hingham’s 12 consecutive points that tied the game with 32 seconds to go.

Duxbury coach Bob Sullivan called a timeout with 24 seconds remaining to set up a play for North. With solid defensive coverage by Hingham, it was tough to get the ball inside quickly. An errant Duxbury shot was headed out of bounds when freshman Catherine Harrison saved the ball and got it inside to North, who missed her shot but was fouled on the rebound with 3.3 seconds on the clock.

In a fitting conclusion to the night’s festivities, North calmly stepped to the line and buried both free throws for the win, preventing Hingham from celebrating a miraculous comeback and delaying their chance at qualifying for post-season play.

“When I finally got it, it was a relief,” said North, who now joins Lauren Fuller, Allison Love, Marie Murphy and Susan Pye as 1000-point scorers.

Two nights later it was Senior Night for the Lady Dragons, who took care of Whitman-Hanson, 44-28.

McLaughlin, the team’s lone senior, scored six points and hauled in nine rebounds in the win, while Norton tallied 12 points and freshman guard Jackie Sullivan hit a career-high 11 points.

After finishing the regular season with a 12-6 record, the girls spent the past two days playing in the Warrior Winter Classic in Foxboro before tournament play begins next week.