GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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December 11, 2012

Girls Basketball: Third-quarter struggles seal Rockport's fate

ROCKPORT -- On a night that began on a positive note with the unveiling of Rockport High School’s refurbished “Stephen A. Rowell” basketball court, it seemed the Rockport girls basketball team might have karma on its side.

As Greater Lowell proved in the two teams’ season-openers, though, those kinds of good vibes can only go so far.

The young Vikings were unable to shake off the first-game jitters and struggled to hang onto the ball, and Greater Lowell ran away from them in a decisive third quarter to set the pace for an easy 42-16 victory.

”A lot of turnovers,” Rockport coach Steve O’Connor said. “We did that (in scrimmages) against Gloucester and Pope John. We’re a young team and they’re errors that we just don’t have to make. We have to get over that.”

Turnovers were the name of the game for the Vikings (0-1). The Gryphons (1-0) were athletic and aggressive on defense, jumping into passing lanes and forcing Rockport to make quick decisions.

That was where Rockport’s lack of experience shone through. The Vikings have no seniors on their roster and start an eighth-grader, Rachel Haselgard, at point guard. And while Rockport had some bright spots in the game, once it got into its halfcourt sets on both ends of the floor, the inability to handle Greater Lowell’s pressure ultimately sealed its fate in a lopsided third quarter.

Despite missed opportunities, the Vikings were still very much in the game at halftime, trailing just 17-9. But at the start of the third quarter, Greater Lowell coach Brian Martin dialed up the pressure and committed the Gryphons to a full-court press.

The result was disastrous for the Vikings. They were hardly able to advance past halfcourt, and Greater Lowell turned an endless string of turnovers into 16 third-quarter points.

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