Hometown Weekly Reporter
This summer, Drake’s “In My Feelings Challenge” was so inescapable, both online and in real life, that within months, the entire country was annoyed at the song’s recurring line: “Kiki, do you love me?”
On Tuesday night, the Walpole girls basketball team quickly became annoyed at the inescapable, recurring line coming from Needham’s PA announcer, that another two points had been scored by Needham’s Kiara “Kiki” McIntyre.
After losing to Walpole three times last year, including once in the playoffs, McIntyre’s twenty-one points led Needham to a 55-35 victory over the Walpole Rebels, a change in outcome McIntyre believed came about due to a change in attitude.
“We just came ready to play and ready to win,” said McIntyre. “You can’t lose to the same team three times in a row. So, we just came with a very confident and positive attitude, and we were ready to win.”
And ready they were. Needham jumped out to an early lead and held it throughout, ultimately leading at halftime 31-21 after a disheartening offensive rebound from Taylor Frazzette led to an even more disheartening three pointer from the corner. However, it was the third quarter, in which Needham went on a 13-7, run that would slam the door shut on any chance at a Walpole comeback.
Needham’s unique stacked 2-3 zone defense, in which the first person covers the player with the ball and the second person is in charge covering the fist pass before turning into a traditional 2-3, caused Walpole trouble all night.
Walpole point guard Sydney Scales, a Boston Globe All-Scholastic lacrosse player as well, did a good job penetrating it consistently, only to kick the ball out to open shooters. Unfortunately for the Rebels, the outside shots were not falling, and the Rockets packed in the zone as they missed more and more from the outside.
It didn’t help that Walpole had to deal with foul trouble from a few of their best players, including junior Elisabeth Roche.
Walpole tried to press at the end of the third quarter, but Needham broke it consistently and stretched their lead after a few long, baseball passes led to open layups. By that point, the game was in hand and backups were brought in. The game was over, and Walpole was left with nothing but thoughts of redemption - the Rockets will head out on the road for a second matchup with the Rebels on January 22.