Their pre-game huddle ends with one unified thought: Play Your Game.
The Division 2 state final was no different for the Lincoln-Sudbury girls' basketball team.
And the confident Warriors left no doubt: They Played Their Game.
The Warriors hit their first six shots on the DCU Center floor, sprinting to an early 12-2 cushion and were never truly threatened in a 53-32 victory over Hampshire Regional to capture the program's first state title Saturday night in Worcester.
"I guess this is what they mean when they say that you have to peak at the right time," said L-S third-year coach Liza Feldman, whose squad finishes 24-2.
"If we had played this way all year, we would have been tough to beat all year. But in some ways, the losses at the beginning of the season (to Westford and Rush Henrietta) were the best things for us. It made us work harder."
L-S defended aggressively, shared the ball, and made it a point of emphasis to get the ball inside to 6-foot-5 senior center Carolyn Swords.
The Boston College-bound Swords and junior guard Sarah Wetmore led Lincoln-Sudbury with 14 points apiece and senior forward Brittany Phillips netted all 12 of her points in the first 16 minutes, when the Warriors built a 30-15 lead.
Playing in its fifth straight state final, Hampshire hit its first two shots of the second half, but L-S answered with a 15-0 blitz for a commanding 49-20 spread with six minutes left.
When Hampshire's 6-foot-4 senior Cara McCormack, her team's only counter to Swords in the post, was whistled for her fifth foul with 6:52 left, Feldman subbed in for her senior center. A minute later, three other L-S starters were out of the game, allowed to view the final minutes from the bench.
But with 52 seconds left, Feldman offered a final salute to her four seniors: Swords, Phillips, Elana Carlson and Cortney Davis, inserting the quartet back into the game to be on the floor at the final buzzer.
"I wanted to send them off in the right direction," said Feldman. "They have done a tremendous amount for this program, they have been really great leaders.":
-- Craig Larson
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