FAIRFIELD — The Lawrence and Messalonskee high school girls basketball teams have established themselves as the top two teams in Class A North. But as it did with a 24-point win at Messalonskee on opening night, Lawrence showed there’s a big difference between itself and the rest of the region with a 62-38 win over the Eagles on Tuesday night at Folsom Gym.

That difference is Lawrence standout Nia Irving, who scored 35 points and grabbed 25 rebounds in Tuesday’s Messalonskee rematch. Irving, who will play for Boston University next season, scored all 14 of the Bulldogs’ points in the second quarter, when Lawrence (11-0) took the lead for good.

“We needed to get the ball into Nia, and we definitely did. She does it for us. She’s the best player in the state and she follows through when we need her,” Lawrence guard Domi Lewis said.

Messalonskee (8-2) led 20-18 with 3:10 left in the first half before Irving scored nine points in the final three minutes to stake Lawrence to a 27-20 halftime lead. The Bulldogs dominated the third quarter, outscoring the Eagles 21-6 to pull away.

“We haven’t been challenged over the last few weeks. We played a very good team today and we were challenged,” Lawrence coach John Donato said. “Once we started playing our game in the second half, you see that we pulled ahead.”

Added Messalonskee coach Keith DeRosby: “When she’s able to seal, she’s so good at creating space at the last minute… No one wants to get into a track meet with them, because they’re so efficient with the ball. If we can make our possessions count, especially with the way (Irving) rebounds defensively, you don’t want to get into a situation where you get an empty trip every time.”


For much of the first half, Messalonskee was able to stay with Lawrence. It led 14-13 at the end of the first quarter, in part to its own patience on offense and in part to Lawrence coming out cold from the field. Early on, the Eagles spread the ball around, with Sophie Holmes and Taylor Easler leading the scoring. Holmes finished with a team-high 22 points, while Easler had six points on a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter. Exerting so much energy trying to defend Irving began to take its toll on the Eagles.

“We got away from that toward the end (of the first half) as we got tired,” DeRosby said.

For Lawrence, Lewis scored 11 of her 13 points in the second half, making three 3-pointers in the third quarter after going without a field goal in the first half.

“Everyone’s going to miss. You’re going to miss shots. Nia was working it inside and gave me open opportunities I didn’t have to force,” Lewis said.

Holmes had 12 rebounds for Messalonskee, while Allyssa Turner added nine boards for the Eagles.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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