FAIRFIELD — This winter, Lawrence finally has a tangible goal. Unlike the last few years, the Bulldogs know that if they play well enough, they have a legitimate shot at the Eastern A girls basketball playoffs. That realization is showing up in games, and it’s showing up in practices.
“We don’t get angry with each other, because we know that if you want to win, you’ve got to practice hard,” freshman Nia Irving said. “So we just accept it, and go at each other, pretty much.”
The Bulldogs spent Tuesday night going at Brunswick, and their up-tempo, aggressive style produced a 55-40 victory at Folsom Gymnasium.
The final score is a little misleading, as Lawrence (1-1) led 34-14 at the half. Brunswick didn’t get within 18 points after halftime until Gillian Doehring rattled in a 3-pointer with 21 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Brunswick was coming off an 11-point loss to Cony, but against Lawrence, the Dragons were floundering from the outset. Brunswick shot 3 for 24 from the field in the first half while committing 14 turnovers.
“We didn’t come out with the same intensity that we did Friday,” Brunswick coach Sam Farrell said.
Irving, a 5-foot-11 center, had 10 points and 16 rebounds despite carrying a temperature of 101 earlier in the day. The Bulldogs have a height advantage, and they also had a hustle advantage, as players like Irving, Paige Belanger (11 points, eight rebounds), and Brianna Soucy (10 rebounds) outfought the Dragons for loose balls and rebounds.
“Everybody contributed, so that’s what we need to do,” Lawrence coach John Donato said.
Lawrence’s Dominique Lewis led all scorers with 13 points. She scored eight in the second quarter as the Bulldogs pushed their lead from eight points to 20. Anna Dimick scored 12 points for Brunswick by making eight of 11 free throws, but the highest note for the Dragons came in the third quarter, when guard Julia Champagne scored all eight of her points and gave Brunswick a brief spark.
“She put the team on her back and carried us in the third quarter,” Farrell said. “She can do that. We just need to have five players doing that together.”
Brunswick outscored the Bulldogs 17-7 in the fourth quarter, but still ended up shooting 12 for 62 on the night. While the Dragons have Eastern A favorite Edward Little up next, Lawrence will look to ride its momentum against Messalonskee and Hampden.
Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243