Rockets Girls Hold Off Walpole on Two Straight Nights

January 10, 2024
• Both the Needham Girls Basketball and Hockey teams withstood late runs by the Timberwolves.

A pair of Needham versus Walpole Girls games took the stage in the first full week of the 2024 portion of the Winter Sports Season, with Needham Girls Basketball hanging on 36-33 at the A Gym Tuesday and Girls Hockey doing the same Wednesday, 5-4 at Babson. The Basketball teams will play again on Tuesday, February 13th at 6:30pm in Walpole. The Hockey teams again on Valentine’s Day, Wednesday, February 14th at 8pm from Rodman Arena.

On Tuesday, points came at a premium through much of the first quarter. With 3:20 to go, The Timberwolves led just 3-2, but in the final three minutes of the first, the Rockets responded in part due to the performance of Sophomore Eva Andrews, who scored six points and also had 6 rebounds in the first eight minutes. Needham would take a 12-5 lead into the second quarter, finishing with a three pointer by Sophomore Annie Camozzi.

Turnovers would hurt the Rockets in the second, however, as they committed seven, with a first half total of eight. The Timberwolves also had eight turnovers in the first half and despite outscoring Needham in the second 8-5, the Rockets maintained a lead at halftime, 17-13. Andrews had six points and eight rebounds at the break and was the only Needham player to hit more than one field goal. In addition to Camozzi, Needham also had three pointers from Hannah Levine and Freshman Aislin Flaherty, but hit just 3-10 in the first half and 4-18 on the game.

In the second half Needham’s turnover troubles continued and they also struggled from the free throw line, as Camozzi missed two, as did Senior Katherine Leslie. Levine, however, would hit two, as well as three field goals, giving her eight points in the third, 11 in the game up to that point. Needham had a 27-18 lead, but settled for a 27-20 lead heading to the fourth quarter.

Walpole Junior Isabelle Adams and Sophomore Bella Bingham helped get their team back, with Adams scoring seven of her eleven points in the second half, while Bingham had ten of her game high 15 points in the last 16 minutes. Bingham would hit six of seven free throw attempts during that period, finishing the game with 8-9 shots made from the charity stripe. For the game, Walpole was 9-13 from the line, while the Rockets struggled, hitting just 10-19.

With just over three minutes to go, Walpole got back within two, at 30-28, then tied it at 30 with 1:10 left on a pair of Bingham free throws. With 40 seconds left, Needham had a chance to take the lead back with a pair of freebies by Dani Deroian and the Sophomore came up big, sinking both. Levine followed that up with two more, putting the Rockets back on top for good. Levine, also a Sophomore, finished with a team high 13 points to go along with three rebounds. While she struggled from three point range, hitting just one of eight, she was 4-5 from the free throw line.

Andrews had nine points, a steal, a pair of blocks and 12 rebounds for the Rockets, who finished with 35 rebounds on the game. Camozzi had seven, while Leslie added five. Camozzi also had six points and a steal. Needham improved to 6-2.

In Wednesday night’s hockey action, Walpole scored early after Needham went on a power play. In fact, it would be the only penalty of the game, but the T-Wolves got a breakaway, then put a shot past Allie Curtis in the Needham net. Not long after the Rockets power play expired, however, they would tie the score on a goal by Junior Emma Verville, her first goal of the season. Within the game’s first three minutes, the Rockets did it again, as Senior Captain Lily Schmalz picked up her team leading fourth goal of the year.

Late in the first, Walpole would tie the game, but Needham answered with just 13 seconds to go, as Freshman Sarah Porras scored her third goal of the season, giving the Rockets a 3-2 lead at the first intermission. Early in the second, Schmalz scored again, her fifth of the season and second of the game, giving the Rockets a 4-2 lead. Porras then got her second of the game, fourth of the season, to give Needham their biggest lead of the game, at 5-2.

But the Timberwolves would make it interesting, with another goal in the second, to cut Needham’s lead to 5-3 at the second intermission. Then with three minutes left in the game, they poked another one through, to get within one in the closing minutes. Walpole would pull their goalie after that, trying to use the one woman advantage to tie it up, but Curtis and the defense kept the T’Wolves off the board. Needham won their fourth straight game to improve to 5-1-1 on the season.

Up next for Needham Girls Basketball is a home game at the A Gym against Newton South on Sunday, January 14th at 3:30pm. Girls Hockey will next host Medway at St. Sebastian’s on Martin Luther King Jr Day, Monday January 15th at 1pm.

Kristen Connors has highlights of both games from our latest edition of the Needham Channel News, which you can watch here:

The highlights from this story ran as part of the Needham Channel News, a weekly newscast airing on The Needham Channel every Thursday at 7:30pm. The Needham Channel News can be found on the Community Channel: Comcast 9, Astound 15 and Verizon 29. Most Thursdays it also can be viewed on our HD Channel on Verizon 2129, Astound 613 and streaming on this site.



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