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South Boston girls' basketball cruises past Brighton

Posted by Justin Rice  January 23, 2013 06:57 PM

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South Boston junior forward Daitannah Smith puts up a layup against Brighton on Wednesday afternoon. Smith finished with a team-high 15 points. (Pavel Dzemianok / For the Boston Globe)

After a slow start against Brighton on Wednesday afternoon, South Boston pulled out a 66-34 home victory.

“We tend to do that, we tend to play to the opponents' level,” South Boston coach Andrea Higgins said after her team improved to 9-2. “We have been trying to make sure that we play our game because we know we’re going to the tournament and we don’t know who we are going to be facing. We always have to make sure we are playing our game.”

Brighton (2-9) scored the first 3 points before South Boston finally scored its first basket with 5:15 left in the opening quarter to tie the score at 3-3. The Knights' 3-pointer was scored by junior forward Daitannah Smith, who finished with a team-high 15 points.

The teams traded baskets to make the score 5-5 before the Knights busted open a 13-0 run to take a 18-5 lead after one quarter. South Boston took a 34-18 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Higgins said she was pleased that her team eventually picked up the pace.

“You have to call a timeout and remind them because even if you tell them at the beginning of the game it’s tough," she said. "But they did [pick it up], they were more focused on playing our game and working.”

South Boston freshman guard Jocelyn Harris and her teammate, sophomore forward Destinee Morris, each contributed 12 points. Junior guard Elaine Wright-McCarthy had 9 points for South Boston.

The Knights sit in second place in the North Division behind Fenway, the only team they have lost to this season.

A city championship would almost certainly have to go through the Panthers.

“It’s always hard to beat a team three times in one season, that’s what they say, so we’ll see what we can do,” said Higgins, who added that she tries to prevent her team from thinking about the city tournament.

But after going 8-9 last year and 5-12 the previous season, it’s hard not to think about going to cities.

“It would mean the world,” Smith said.

Brighton was led by senior forward Amy Bernardez, who had a team-high 15 points before she injured her ankle in the final moments of the third quarter.

“She should be fine,” Brighton coach John Lilly said. “She’s a tough kid and she’s been through a lot of minor injuries in the past and she sucks it up and keeps playing. She has been our best all-around player all season and that’s what I expect from her.”

Lilly said his team has gotten better this season.

“We’re still an inexperienced team, learning as we go,” he said. “When teams throw different looks at us we have to adjust. This is a learning process. The girls have played a lot better the second time around against everybody, and we expect to improve.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

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Several reporters, editors and correspondents contribute updates, news and features to the BPS Sports Blog:
  • Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
  • Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at butler.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.
Also expect updates from Boston.com High School sports editor Zuri Berry and the Globe staff.