WOBURN — With 2:39 left on the clock in a one-possession game, a visibly frustrated Ashlyn Pacheco was forced to hit the bench after picking up her fifth personal foul for Woburn.
Resilient Wilmington had clawed its way back from a 13-point deficit earlier in the half, and now it was up to Pacheco’s Tanners teammates to extend their winning streak to 13 games without the help of their captain.
They did just that. With Woburn holding a two-point lead, senior captain Megan Roderick fired a pass to sophomore Carley Dangora, who drained her second 3-pointer of the game. Two possessions later it was Dangora who found Roderick for a triple, and the No. 14 Tanners held on to defeat Wilmington, 66-59, in a tough Tuesday night Middlesex League tilt.
“Big baskets, the game was on the line and they did a nice job of moving the ball,” Woburn coach Steve Sullivan said. “[Wilmington] helped a little bit, we kicked out, we hit some shots. That’s what the game is.”
Woburn improved to 16-1 with the win. The lone blemish on the Tanners’ record came on the road against New Mission, 51-43, on Dec. 27.
But there’s a reason the Wildcats (13-4) had won 13 in a row themselves entering Tuesday. The Tanners were plagued by foul trouble for much of the night, and Wilmington punished them by shooting 28 for 42 (67 percent) from the free throw line. The Wildcats were led by senior captain Jenna Tavanese, who scored a game-high 19 points with the help of seven from the stripe.
“[Tavanese] was definitely very fast, a very good player, but we had to play good help defense and communicate,” Pacheco said.
Pacheco finished with 14 points while Roderick added 12. Woburn was led by freshman guard Cyndea Libissiere, who scored five of her 15 points in the fourth quarter.
“Two freshmen, [Libissiere] and [Meghan Qualey] really stepped up for us big, guarding and making plays,” Sullivan said. “That’s a tournament win right there, a tournament kind of atmosphere, and I’m very proud of the girls and they way they responded.”
Seamus McAvoy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.