High school basketball in Massachusetts is a five-on-five game played in four 8-minute quarters.
There have been tens of thousands of those games But only rarely in the modern era has one team played the same five athletes over all 32 minutes.
The Bedford Buccaneers played with that unfortunate distinction Friday, leading for more than three quarters but ultimately losing 32-21 to Lincoln-Sudbury to finish the Dual County League girls’ basketball schedule.
It was the fourth consecutive loss after 14 straight Bedford wins, and the fourth consecutive game missing at least three starters.
Friday, not only were Julia Dearing, Marina Greaney, and Katherine Vaughan out of the lineup, but the Bucs also lost sophomore Cassie Morrisey, who has contributed on offense and defense both as a starter and reserve all season. Morrisey sustained a sprained ankle in practice Thursday.
So the Bucs started senior Allie Zorn, junior Sydney Poor, and sophomores Bridget Sheahan, Madison Tierney and McKenzie Tierney. Three freshmen stayed on the bench as a safety net; none has any varsity experience.
For more than three quarters the Bucs nursed a lead, relying on their defense and looking for opportunistic chances. They gave up a lot of offensive rebounds, b they stuck to the game plan.
Bedford nursed a 19-18 lead into the last five minutes, but the gas tank wat empty. During that stretch, Lincoln-Sudbury outscored the exhausted Buccaneers, 16-3. For three periods, the girls clogged the passing lanes, forcing turnovers and misses. Indeed, Warriors made only six of 26 shots and lost the ball 27 times. They were 7-for-13 in the fourth quarter.
Zorn was a Bedford pillar of poise and intensity from wire to wire. She scored 10 points, sinking six of seven from the foul line, and had five steals.
A highlight: with two minutes remaining in the first half, Zorn blocked an outside shot, picked up the loose ball and fed McKenzie Tierney for an easy layup. That made the score 14-8, and the Buccaneers did not score again for more than 11 minutes.
Zorn broke that drought with a minute-and-a-half gone in the fourth quarter. She drove the lane and scooped in a layup to tie the score at 16. On the next possession, Poor fed Sheahan on the baseline to give Bedford an 18-16 lead.
The girls were scoreless from outside the arc. Shahan and McKenzue Tierney each had eight rebounds.
The Bedford girls have home games Monday and Wednesday against Tewksbury and Wakefield.
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at [email protected], or 781-983-1763