CHESAPEAKE CITY — Points were at a premium in the Susquehanna Division girls’ basketball battle between North East and host Bohemia Manor Thursday night.
Both teams played suffocating defense throughout the contest, and Hailee Fields helped the Eagles hold off the Indians for a 24-18 victory as she scored six of her game-high 10 points in the final quarter.
“We have man concepts in our matchup zone. That’s what we preach in practice. We’re not the best offensive team, so we have to be good at something,” Bo Manor head coach Sean Lenz said. “We hang our hat on solid defense and hope that the points will come out of steals in transition with easy layups, and I think that may have been the difference tonight.”
Both teams struggled to get clean looks at the basket as North East and the Eagles’ defenders did a great job of contesting shots and forcing turnovers. As result, the teams combined for five made field goals in the first half, resulting in an 8-5 Bo Manor lead at halftime.
The way the Eagles played defense against the Indians in the first half was indicative of how they have played all year on the defensive end, and they’re confident that their 2-3 zone defense is tough to break through.
“As a team, as a whole, we play amazing defense. Our 2-3 is outstanding. We’re working on our 3-2 in practice a lot. We’re a little shaky with the man,” Fields said. “When coach puts us in the 2-3, we can hold a team under 25 points most likely.”
The Eagles outscored scored North East 9-7 in the third quarter to increase their lead to 17-12 entering the final quarter, setting the stage for Fields’ huge baskets.
After Madison Tadalan made a field goal early in the fourth quarter to cut North East’s deficit to three points, Rylee Lenz made one of two free throws to make it a four-point game at 18-14. Fields then hit a field goal of her own to increase the Eagles’ lead back to six points at 20-14.
Jordan Loginotti made a 3-pointer midway through the frame to bring the Indians back within a possession, but that would be as close as North East came as Fields responded with a 3 of her own to make it 23-17.
Fields’ strong fourth quarter has been a part of trend of as of late where she has been better on the floor, and she knew she had to keep it going.
“My shot has been on lately. I just had to believe in myself. In the beginning of the season, it wasn’t on. I had to believe in myself and try to do my best,” Fields said.
“She’s our go-to. That’s what we expect from her. That’s what she expects from herself. She’s the catalyst that makes us go,” Lenz added. “She made big shots at the right time for us to keep that 4-to-6 point lead. They got some baskets, but she made a big one to hold a run. I give her credit for being offensive-minded, wanting the ball in her hands.”
Katie O’Hare added seven points to the Bo Manor cause while Longnotti paced the Indians with six points.