(written, shot, edited and narrated for Somerville Patch)
Led by sophomore forward Melissa Baptista‘s double-double and junior guard Indira Evora‘s game-high 12 points, the Highlanders beat the O’Bryant Tigers in the consolation round of the 11th Annual Highlander Hoopfest, 53-37, Wednesday at the SHS Field House. Needham defeated Fontbonne Academy later that night, 44-43, winning the tournament.
Melissa McGovern sank a layup on the opening possession of the game, giving the Highlanders the only lead they’d need. The Tigers’ strong interior presence frequently put them on the foul line, but they could only chip at the Highlanders’ lead, never tying or actually taking the lead.
“This tournament is always a learning experience for the kids, because the teams out here, most of them are from the suburbs,” said Tiger coach Gertrude Fisher. “They’re a different breed of team.”
Tiger free throws also usually keyed long scoring runs by the Highlanders. When the Tigers cut the lead to 7-4 in the first, the Highlanders scored the next six, highlighted by Baptista grabbing her own rebound following a miss and putting it in for the 11-4 lead.
Two second-quarter Tiger free throws cut the Highlander lead to 16-13, but the Highlanders scored the next five, highlighted by a perfect three-pointer from junior Chyenne Miles.
And when a third-quarter Tiger free throw made it 25-21 Highlanders, the Highlanders put the game away for good. Junior Esther Joseph knocked down a three-pointer, senior Marie Koutsoubaris hit a layup, then Evora grabbed an offensive rebound and drained it to put the Highlanders up 34-22.