By Conor Walsh
---- — GLOUCESTER — Coming into the season, the Gloucester girls basketball team knew that its size would be a concern.
Last night, the Fishermen’s lack of an interior presence cost them when Winthrop came to town. The Vikings’ combination of center Temisan Meggison and Kristen Siscamanis combined for 20 points and 18 assists to help Winthrop outlast Gloucester, 43-31, in a game defined by defense and plagued by turnovers.
“I came to see Gloucester play Saugus the other day and I knew it was going to be a tough game,” Winthrop coach Ignacio Oyola said. “I thought they played very well tonight. I think they have very smart basketball players, so I knew it was going to be a tough one, and we’re lucky to get out of here with a win.”
From the opening tip last night, each team struggled to find a rhythm. The officials called the game tight, and with each team playing controlled, aggressive defense, offensive possessions that didn’t end in a trip to the free throw line seemed to exclusively end in turnovers.
The two teams combined for 10 first-half field goals, while piling up a combined 28 first-half turnovers.
Despite their plague of turnovers, though, the Vikings carried their free-throw shooting to a 20-13 first half lead.
“It was getting called tight by the refs,” Oyola said. “We put them on the line a lot, and I was getting a little nervous with our turnovers, but we like to get up and go so I know sometimes the turnovers are going to happen.”
One can’t fault the Fishermen for their efforts last night. They were relentless on the defensive end, and despite their cold shooting in the first half, they put everything they had into mounting a second half comeback, cutting the deficit to as few as five points.
But that’s where Winthrop’s inside presence won out. Meggison (12 points, 12 rebounds) piled up nine second-half rebounds, many of which came on the offensive glass, to effectively end any comeback hopes the Fishermen may have harbored.
“Meggison and the other girl, Siscamanis,” Oyola said. “We’re going to rotate at the center spot (with freshman center Nina Bartlette and Meggison), and they’re both strong down low. That was our strength tonight.”
Gloucester coach Brandon Lewis was unavailable for comment due to a lengthy post-game meeting with his team.
The Fishermen spoiled a double-double from co-captain Sophia Black (10 points, 10 rebounds), her second double-double in as many games. But with their lack of a true second option and co-captain Katie Ciaramitaro in foul trouble all night, the Fishermen were unable to find that X-factor to push them to the next level last night.
For now, it’s back to the drawing board as Gloucester looks to rebound Friday while hosting Swampscott.