MANCHESTER-- Thursday’s tilt against Cape Ann counterpart Manchester Essex was a must win in every sense of the word for the Gloucester girls basketball team.
Gloucester entered the game with a 3-7 record and in the midst of a difficult stretch that saw it lose four straight games, three of them to top Northeastern Conference Large teams in Revere, Lynn English and Lynn Classical. To have any realistic shot at a postseason berth the Fishermen needed to get past the always tough Hornets, who have already qualified for the postseason.
In a hard fought battle at Manchester Essex high school, Gloucester was too much on the defensive end en route to a 40-26 win. With the win Gloucester improves to 4-7 on the year while Manchester Essex falls to 4-8.
“It’s nice to get back into the win column,” Gloucester head coach Brandon Lewis said. “It’s about time, we had a few tough ones against some very goo teams be we got back to playing defense tonight. We match up pretty well with (Manchester Essex) so we were able to play man-to-man and get back into our bread and bugger. Hats off to them, they are a tough team and they hit their free throws but we kept them off the line in the second half. Nice to pick up a good win against a good team.”
Defense was the story from start to finish on Thursday as both teams had to battle for every single point. Ahead 19-15 at the half Gloucester opened up its lead with a strong first quarter, but not before Manchester Essex battled back to tie the score at 19-19 with an 8-0 late in the second quarter and early in the first quarter.
From there, however, it was all Gloucester, which finished the game on a 21-7 run.