RANDOLPH — If you’re looking for a place to stay warm this holiday season, perhaps you should take in a Randolph girls basketball game. The Galloping Ghosts started their season off with a 48-39 victory in convincing fashion over Hartford Saturday evening, and in a word, looked to be in rhythm.

Hartford junior Kennedy Mullen had a game-high 17 points for the Hurricanes, but it wasn’t enough to tip the offensive balance of Randolph as Kasie Mills dropped in a team-high 11 for the Ghosts, with teammates Sara Rea and Rielle Brassard each netting nine points, and Tricia Eaccarino chipping in eight.

Balance and rhythm are two of the requirements needed in order to make beautiful music, and once the Ghosts found their confidence, the melody came naturally. They did however play a bit off-key through the first half.

With Mullen and sophomore Jasmine Jenkins able to keep Randolph out of step defensively, the Hurricanes enjoyed the lead until Amelia Mattrick (five points) canned a pair of free-throws for Randolph with just a minute left in the half to give the Ghosts their first lead of the game 21-20. A baseline swish from Eaccarino followed by one of two from the line by Mattrick gave Randolph a 24-20 lead at the half.

“We knew it was the season opener and that Hartford was going to be a good test to start the season,” Eaccarino said. “We knew that we were capable of playing better defense and that #11 (Mullen) and #3 (Jenkins) could shoot so we matched up with our best defenders on them.”

That confidence translated in to the Randolph team tightening the reigns defensively and buckling down on the boards in the second half. With Brassard doing her best off the dribble, she dropped a nice pass to Morgan Fordham waiting behind the three-point line where she lined up and shot the ball in rhythm to open the third quarter and the lead to 31-22.

“We’ve got a lot of aggressive kids and got in a little foul trouble early,” Randolph coach Scott Lafreniere said. “It’s one of those things where I think we’re a little deeper this year. It’s going to be nice to give some of our players a rest. In the second half we came out, we boxed out, gave them just one shot and made them work. In the first half Hartford crashed the boards really well. In the second half we all picked it up.”

In the fourth quarter Mullen and crew threw together a quick 7-point run for the Hurricanes, but a Brassard free throw and a runner from Mills helped to stem the bleeding as the Ghosts held on as Brassard dribbled out the clock.

“I feel good and I thought we played well,” Hartford coach Heidi Bushway said. “I thought we fouled a little more than we needed to and we lost by nine which is the number of foul shots that Randolph made. We learned what we needed to work on, but we’re young and we’ll run in to it.”

Randolph (1-0) travels to play Northfield on Wednesday. Hartford (0-1) travels to take on Lake Region Friday.

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