BERLIN- Worcester Prep’s girls’ varsity basketball team outlasted a pesky Greenwood Mennonite team on Tuesday in a see-saw contest that ended with a 35-32 win for the Mallards.
Greenwood Mennonite jumped out to an early 6-2 lead in the first quarter before Worcester Prep center Melanie Leiner got warmed up and started getting her shots to fall. Led by three straight baskets by Leiner, the Mallards went on an 8-0 run to close out the first quarter, which ended with Worcester ahead, 10-6.
After a long jumper by Greenwood Mennonite cut the Worcester lead to 10-8 at the 6:42 mark in the second quarter, neither team scored for a long stretch in the period. Leiner got Worcester back on the board with a little runner in the paint at the 2:40 mark in the second and converted a lay-up on the next possession to extend the lead to 14-8 with the clock running down in the first half, but the Flames scored on a long three-pointer with 50 seconds remaining in the half to cut the lead to 14-11 at the intermission.
The Flames wasted no time in the third, scoring a quick basket to cut the lead to one point at 14-13 and then connected on another long three-pointer to go ahead 16-14 for their first lead since early in the first quarter. Leiner converted a lay-up to tie the game at 16-16 at the 4:20 mark in the third and Marie Enderle hit a jumper from the top of the key on the next possession to put the Mallards back in front at 18-16 a minute later.
Greenwood Mennonite scored on a fast break to tie the game at 18-18 before Worcester’s Hillary Roughton converted a lay-up to put the Mallards back on top at 20-18 with just over two minutes remaining in the third. After the two teams exchanged free throws, Enderle stole the ball and converted the lay-up to put Worcester ahead 23-19, but the Flames had the quick answer and cut the lead to two again at 23-21 with 50 seconds left in the third.
However, Worcester’s Jackie Wangel hit a long jumper at the buzzer to extend the lead to 25-21 at the end of the third quarter. The fourth quarter opened with a long jumper by the Flames to cut the lead to 25-23 and Greenwood Mennonite hit another bomb less than a minute later to tie the game at 25-25 with a lot of time on the clock. The Flames were living and dying with the outside jumper throughout the contest, but it was working for them as they kept responding every time it appeared Worcester was pulling ahead.
Leiner converted a lay-up in traffic to put Worcester back on top at 27-25, but missed a free throw after she was fouled on the shot. Wangel then rattled home a long bank shot to put the Mallards on top 29-25 with around five minutes left in the game. Again, the Flames responded with a long three-pointer to cut the lead to one at 29-28.
Worcester’s Meegan Smith hit a shot from the top of the key with just over three minutes left to put the Mallards on top, 31-28, but the Flames responded quickly with another basket to cut the lead to 31-30. Leiner made a quick lay-up to extend the lead to 33-30, but the Flames converted a pair of free throws to pull within one again at 33-32 with 47 seconds left.
After a Worcester timeout with 33 seconds left and the ball, the inbound pass went to Smith who raced to the basket and converted a lay-up to put the Mallards ahead, 35-32. With 16 seconds left, Greenwood Mennonite got several good looks from the perimeter, but the shots wouldn’t fall and the Mallards escaped with the 35-32 win.