Saturday December 15, 2012

NORTH ADAMS -- Three games for the Lee girls basketball team and three wins. For the second time in as many nights, however, that win didn't come easily.

The Wildcats held a 20-point lead after three quarters but they had to hold off a furious rally by South Berkshire rival Lenox to score a 43-37 win and the Gene Wein Tournament championship at Drury on Friday night.

Tournament most valuable player Stephanie Young had a double-double with game highs in points (18) and rebounds (13). Eileen Dooley added 13 points and four assists for the Wildcats. Dooley made the All-Tournament team along with Lenox's Hayden Zinchuk (17 points, nine rebounds), Drury's Danielle Racette and Mount Greylock's Lucy Barrett.

The Wildcats took to the floor in the Bucky Bullett Gym some 24 hours after escaping with a 38-35 win over the host Blue Devils. Young won the game with a 3-pointer at the horn.

"Last night with the buzzer-beater that Steph made, I think it really pumped us up," Dooley said. "We wanted to come out strong."

That Lee did. The Wildcats took the lead for good on Dooley's 3-pointer -- the first hoop of the game. Over the first six-plus minutes of the first quarter, the Millionaires had only two hoops from Zinchuk. In fact, Lenox committed eight first-quarter turnovers before a Zinchuk fast break hoop cut into Lee's eight-point lead.

"It's early in the year. You've got to push," said Lee coach Gary Wellington. "You're going to have teams and games like this. You're going to have bigger games than this. All in all, they were ready to play."

The Millionaires, meanwhile, missed more than their share of shots in the first half and committed 11 turnovers. In fact, the Millionaires made only two shots in the second quarter.

"We had some open looks that didn't fall. When [the shots] don't fall, we don't press," Lenox coach Nicole Patella said, "which means we can't get out on the break. That kind of set us back."

Lee led 24-14 at halftime and extended the lead to 37-19 at the end of three quarters.

Young's hoop with 5:07 to play put the Wildcats up 41-21.

Throwing different zones at Lee, though, the Millionaires slowed down the Wildcats. When that happened, the Lenox offense outscored Lee 16-2 over those final five minutes, and the Millionaires held Lee without a basket in that time. The only points scored were off two Young free throws.

Kathy Prescott started the run with a jumper from the left baseline.

And while the Millionaires were heating up, the Wildcats went stone cold. They were 0 for 8 from the floor in those last five minutes and turned the ball over four times. Two of the turnovers came on shot clock violations.

"We need to realize that we have to come out like that from the start," said Zinchuk, who scored seven of her 17 points in those last five minutes. "We can get up on these teams, so we're the team that makes them come after us."

In the end, however, the Wildcats took home the victory and the championship trophy. Three games in, Lee has played three tough foes and is 3-0.

"You want to be [3-0], but if it didn't happen, it wouldn't have shocked me," said Wellington. "We have a group of kids who probably don't have the experience of the past. The kids are really learning and paying attention. We'll correct what we're making mistakes on."