LYNN — Things are coming together for the KIPP Academy girls basketball team.
Behind a stellar defensive performance, the Panthers rolled to a 49-15 win over Fellowship Academy at home Monday night.
“This was definitely a nice win to get after the St. Mary’s game last week,” said KIPP coach John DePasquale. “Our girls are making great progress as we continue to install the new offense, and we’re starting to hit on a lot of the things we’ve been working on.”
KIPP was led by junior captain Destiny Guzman, who put up 17 points, three rebounds and three steals. Freshman guard Tatiana Megie-Maddrey had a big all-around game with 11 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals, while sophomore forward Tope Mafo contributed nine points and eight rebounds. Junior forward Jasmairy Marte had six points and three rebounds, while junior forwards Carla Collymore and Amya Liburd each had two points and five rebounds.
The number of scorers and contributors for KIPP is something that DePasquale was happy with as the season continues to move along.
“We’re still building and still trying to get a hold of the new system, so to see so many of the girls have an impact was great,” said DePasquale.
The Panthers played progressively better as the game went on, putting up more points each quarter until the fourth. After a slow start in the first quarter, KIPP began to lock down on defense. That in turn led to better shot opportunities, which helped the Panthers take a 13-6 lead after one.
The second quarter is where KIPP started to take control. In addition to only allowing two points on the defensive end, players like Guzman and Megie-Maddrey started to hit shots to extend the lead. By the end of the half, KIPP held a 27-8 lead.
The third quarter was even better for the Panthers, who went on a 18-5 run to seal the win. The large lead allowed a number of players to get into the action on both sides, and it allowed DePasquale to work even more aspects of the offense into the game plan.
“We have a lot of young players and we’re installing a new offense with a new coach and everything,” said DePasquale. “It’s a work in progress, but we are making progress. We’re getting deeper into our possessions, we’re getting more familiar with the game plan and we’re starting to just react out there, which is good to see.”
The Panthers now stand at 5-2 on the season and have a quick turnaround with a game against Minuteman scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
“We still have some pretty inexperienced players, so the focus is to build on this win and keep adding different aspects of the game plan each week,” said DePasquale. “Our leadership is great, the girls have a lot of enthusiasm and I’m excited to see where we go from here.”