Dual County League powerhouse Bedford High employed a relentless full court press and took a 43-34 victory over the Monday night, knocking a noticeable dent into TMHS's hopes to qualify for its second consecutive MIAA state tournament.
led Tewksbury with 10 points while senior guard Katie Doherty had eight. Nicole Chaet and Sara Semenza added six each.
"We played pretty well," "We cut it down to one possession in the fourth quarter, but we had to foul and they hit their shots. They pressed us the whole game and we wasted a lot of energy beating their press. As a result, they got a lot of second-chance points off us."
Bedford improves to 13-2 while the loss drops Tewksbury's record to 5-9 overall, but more important, the Redmen now stand at 2-4 against MIAA Division 2 and 3 opponents.
The simplest way for TMHS to qualify for post-season play this year is via the Sullivan Rule, which says that Tewksbury must finish at least .500 against all Division 2 and 3 opponents. The Redmen now must win all three of their remaining Division 2 and 3 games to qualify. With North Andover and either Gloucester or Melrose looming as their final two opponents (at the St. Mary's Tournament later this month), TMHS has a tough road ahead.
"This (loss) hurts," Bradley admitted. "We have to concentrate on the (Merrrimack Valley Conference) small school title now."
Tewksbury is currently right in the thick of the MVC Division 2 title hunt with Chelmsford and Dracut, and could qualify for the state tournament by earning at least a share of the MVC small school crown. The first test for the Redmen comes Tuesday night at Haverhill, followed by a home game against Lawrence High on Friday. The Redmen then visit Notre Dame Academy next Tuesday before completing their home schedule with a Senior Night showdown against Methuen on Feb. 17.
Tewksbury has already beaten Haverhill, Notre Dame and Lawrence once each this season.
"Assuming we take care of business against those three teams over the next week or so, that would mean it would all come down to the Methuen game," Bradley said. "But we've got to continue playing well over the next three games. It's a tough stretch for us. It's not going to be easy."