Offensive Woes Cost Improving Wildcats

By Stephen Sports
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LEE, Mass. – The Lee girls basketball team Friday continued to have trouble finishing.
But the Wildcats also showed how far they’ve come since their season started.
Sy’Nye Baker scored 19 points to lead Renaissance to a 29-18 win over Lee in a defensive battle on Coach C Court.
It was the third straight loss for Lee (2-9) but a stronger showing than its 53-25 loss to the Phoenix one month earlier in Springfield.
After losing by 28 points the first time around, Lee was down by just eight points early in the fourth quarter on Friday night.
“Last time, it was our second game of the year,” Lee coach Rick Puleri said. “And with such a young team, they swallowed us up with the pressure, and we really didn’t know how to handle it.
“They did a much better job of that tonight. We’ve just been struggling to score points, and it was no different tonight.”
Lee has scored 40 or more points just once, in a 43-15 win over Mohawk Trail back on Dec. 29. Friday’s 18-point night represented a season low for the Wildcats.
Taylor Salice had nearly half those points, scoring eight. Mia Puleri scored six, and Leanna Driscoll scored four.
Renaissance was not having much more success finding the basket except for brief spurts at the end of the second and third quarters.
The Phoenix closed the first half with five straight points – a 3-pointer and a transition bucket from C’Niyah Hines (10 points) to take a 15-8 lead into the locker room.
Renaissance opened its first double-digit lead of the night late in the third with five straight points from Baker to make it 24-12 with less than a minute to go in the quarter.
Puleri ended the third with a couple of free throws, and Salice started the fourth with a finish from the elbow to cut the deficit to eight at 24-16, but that was as close as Lee could get.
On the other end, the Wildcats held Renaissance (6-5) to its season low offensively.
“I thought, defensively, we were good enough to win the game,” Puleri said. “But we’re just not putting enough points up on the board.
“We rebounded well, and, honestly, the first time we played them, they outrebounded us three or four to one. So, we competed on the glass, which was one of the things we talked about before the game. I’m happy for that. We’ve just been struggling on offense and have to keep working at it.”
Driscoll grabbed 15 rebounds, and Puleri had 14 boards for the Wildcats.
Lee will face another tough test on Monday when Hoosac Valley makes the trip to South County.
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