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Persistence Lands Nipmuc Girls to Postseason

Persistence was key for the Nipmuc girls' basketball team this winter, from the start of the season through the team's Division 3 quarterfinal loss to Tyngsboro in the sectional tournament. Nipmuc fell 73-33 to a team that has made it to the district semifinal or final in four of the past five years.
"That was a tough game, they are a really good team and we did all we could to prepare for the game," head coach Jess Grady said. "The girls approached that game like they did the whole season, they never gave up."
The veteran head coach said the 13-8 finish and the playoff appearance met her expectations. "We had hoped to win the Dual Valley League and go further in the playoffs, but you obviously face very strong teams come tournament time," Grady said. "The girls worked really hard all season and did a great job in all of the games they played. We would have liked to have gone further but I am happy with what we did."
A quartet of seniors helped lead the Warriors' efforts this season, including scrappy frontcourt player Autumn Morrice. "She is one of those girls who hustles to every play," Grady said. "She is the first player to hit the floor if there is a loose ball."
Senior Jill Bertrand led the team in scoring at around 12 points per game. She scored in double figures 14 times, including four straight 10-plus point performances to finish the season. "She is one of those great all around players," Grady said. "Obviously she is good offensively, but she can make things happen on both sides of the court. She is smart defensively and the young girls looked up to her."
Senior Lauren Campbell was one of the better defensive players on the roster and Stephanie Esker returned to the team after a two-year absence and was able to make a significant contribution right away. "Stephanie is another great role model for the younger girls and a player who never gave up," Grady said. "She was one of the hardest working kids on our team."
Nipmuc has a number of talented players coming back next season, led by sophomore Kylie Gallagher. The center scored nearly 12 points per game and works year-round to improve her game. Juniors Hannah Barrows, Elizabeth Hilton, and Taylor Leacy are all expected to play a big role in 2015-2016.
"We have a number of strong individual players who work hard on their game," Grady said. "They were strong this year and will only get stronger next season."




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