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BC High sends Boxers to the canvas in Division 1 South final

Sport:   Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

BC High sends Boxers to the canvas in Division 1 South final
By Mark Ducharme
GateHouse News Service
Posted Mar 09, 2008 @ 09:20 AM

No one would blame Brockton High School if it petitioned the MIAA to no longer have halftime breaks in their boys basketball games.

For the first 16 minutes of their Div. 1 South Sectional final Saturday night at UMass-Boston, the Boxers had defending state champ BC High on its heels with their spread offense and tough defense to lead by as many as 42-28.

The second half, however, was a different story. Brockton’s offense struggled as BC High’s defense picked up and the Eagles’ offense had success from the perimeter as the Eagles rallied for a 74-63 victory.

The Boxers only scored 21 second-half points and their only basket of the fourth quarter came on a putback by Jarrod DeVaughn, who scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half, with 53 seconds left in the game.

Brockton, which had five turnovers for the game when they had open looks, could not knock the shots down in the second half.

“Halftime was bad for us,” said Brockton coach Bob Boen. “They (BC High) picked up their defense a little bit on us. We were not getting many open shots in the second half.

“That was the big difference, I thought. I felt that we had to force some shots in the second half.”

“I wish that it (halftime) happened a little earlier,” said BC High coach Bill Loughnane. “I think Brockton is wishing that they could play 32 straight minutes. Halftime took a little bit out of them and gave us a big boost.”

Paced by Mike Albanesse, who had 16 points off the bench, and by 6-foot-8 Jake O’Brien’s 23 points, BC High changed its attack in the second half, going more to a quicker three-guard lineup.

It allowed the Eagles to match up with the quicker Boxers as BC High guards Albanese and Brian Mahoney (eight second half points) hit some key 3-pointers to take them from a 54-48 deficit after three quarters to a 63-56 lead with 2:14 left in the game.

“It was disappointing for us,” said Boen. “I thought that it was a good matchup coming in. I thought the game was going to go the way the first half went. I thought the whole game would go that way.”

“The three-guard lineup helped them because it did bring one more of our guys away from the basket. They knocked down some big 3-pointers there and we had some decent defensive rotations.”

“They paid attention to our big guys a lot,” said Loughnane. “Brian Mahoney hit some big threes as did Albanese.”

“We gained some more team speed with our three-guard offense. Their wing players are quick and we had a little trouble matching up with them.”

The Boxers had the pace they wanted in the first half, attacking the basket early with success against a much taller BC High defense.

After BC High clogged the middle and used its outside shooting, the Boxers used their long-range shooting for six of their seven first-half 3-pointers in the second period.

Kyle Gerry led Brockton with three 3-pointers among his 13 points in the first half. Gerry finished with 16 points.

The Boxers’ defense forced the Eagles into nine first-half turnovers while Brockton had three first-half turnovers to lead by five after a quarter, 18-13, and 12 at halftime, 42-30.

“It was a great first half,” said Boen. “I was surprised because I thought they would tire in the second half, but we looked like the team that was tired in the second half. We wanted to race them up and down the court in the first half.”

“I thought they would be dragging, but they came out and played tough defense in the second half. We did not back-door cut as much in the second half.”

Corey Cooper (12 points) scored eight of his 10 points in the first half in a 90 second stretch. He hit two 3-pointers and a 15-foot jumper in that stretch in the second quarter to give the Boxers their first double-digit lead of the first half at 29-17 with 5:47 left in the opening half.

Nault is living a dream

Sport:   Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Nault is living a dream
By Hector Longo
Staff Writer

Boys Basketball

Hector Longo

LOWELL — When named to replace Dick Licare back in June of 2006, Rick Nault made no brash predictions, stating only that he was confident that he was the right man for the Central Catholic job.

After yesterday's 55-53 Division 1 North title win over Lowell last night, Nault has eradicated even the most cynical doubters.

For the record, that's now a 42-8 record over two seasons for Nault, with a North championship, a trip to the TD Banknorth Garden and the distinct possibility of a state title in the near future.

Excuse Nault for the ear-to-ear grin.

"This is my dream," said Nault, a former Raider player and assistant coach under Dick Licare. "I left a good professional job to come to Central full time and this is something I always wanted to do. I'm not going anywhere. Will we always be this good? I don't know. But this is a dream for me."

The Raiders somehow survived one of the darkest droughts in this team's tourney history — seven scoreless minutes against a deadly Lowell squad.

Central just didn't let this one slip away. Perhaps it was Nault, who learned a lesson here a year ago in a heartbreaking loss to Cambridge, one the Raiders definitely should have had after leading by 7 with 1:44 remaining.

Yesterday was different, though. The juices were flowing, but Nault fought his competitive urges and refused to be caught up in the emotion.

"I've learned for me, to just try and stay calm," admitted the coach. "I"m still trying to make the right decisions. My assistants made some great calls tonight. They helped tremendously."

On most nights, a team in Central's position — some calls not going their way, foul shots going two-thirds of the way down then rattling out and Lowell riding a wave of emotion from the near-sellout Tsongas Arena crowd — should have folded in an ugly manner.

Nault somehow kept the wheels on. The coach has grown up.

"He's so much more organized, man, he just kept coaching," said point guard Wilfredo Pagan. "He kept it together. He kept us together."

Central now faces BC High and one of the state's premier bench jockeys, Bill Loughnane, at the Garden tomorrow night.

Win or lose, expect plenty of Rick Nault.

"I always felt if I could get the kids to play with heart, play with that passion that is a part of me, it's something I could truly take pride in," said Nault. "I hoped it would happen, but I still can't believe we've accomplished something like this. I don't know if I'm better, but I feel the kids understand better what it takes to be successful."

Carson in the clutch

Central sophomore sensation Carson Desrosiers fell a bucket short of a triple-double, but still managed to dominate the paint.

In the end, the 6-foot-9 Desrosiers finished with eight points, 10 rebounds, 11 blocks and at least six or shots altered that had no chance of going in.

How about this super soph, calmly knocking down a tough turnaround to break Central's nearly seven-minute long drought and take back the lead?

He then follow that huge shot up with a block of Lowell High's 6-foot-6 All-Scholastic Matt Welch.

"I knew whoever I was guarding Welch or (Fernando) Perez, they were spreading the floor and trying to attack me," said Desrosiers, who did miss a couple late free throws. "I knew he'd try to up-fake me, so I just stayed on my feet and waited. He went up and I got a piece of it."

No. 1 star: All 5,500 of you

The well-mannered, highly-energetic crowd of 5,500 cramming the Tsongas Arena, with high praise going to the huge Central Catholic student section, earns the No. 1 on a special night.

"We've never had a crowd like this," said MIAA North tourney director Larry Kelleher.

The boys game was held up 30 minutes so the crowd could buy tickets and find the seats.

Once the fans got in, they were treated to a special event. You wonder, with all the UMass Lowell and minor league hockey events there if the Tsongas has ever rocked like it did yesterday in an event for the ages.

As Rick Nault, the Central coach said:

"I've been fortunate to be around Central Catholic basketball for a while, so I've been to quite a few North championships. This is unlike anything I've seen before. This was a tremendous environment."

Picking up the pieces

Tip of the hat to Lowell.

As Nault again noted: "They do everything the right way, unselfish, disciplined, just an excellent basketball team."

Red Raiders head coach Scott Boyle had his problems with administrators in Lowell, who took the football job away from him, and the team reeled without him last fall. ...

Central's Adrian Gonzalez scored 10 of his 12 points in the first quarter then ran into some tough luck. Three of the five fouls whistled on him could have gone either way. Of course, the big guy did get away with a blatant double-dribble in the third quarter at center court that nearly everyone in the place saw, except the three men with whistles. ...

What's this hoop world coming to? Lowell survives a 5 of 25 night from the foul line to beat Everett in the North semis. Then, Central hits 12 of 24 from the stripe, just 5 of 13 in the second half, and finds a way to hold off Lowell in the finals. ...

Tomorrow's Garden schedule

Here is the boys schedule for the Eastern Mass. finals/state semifinals:

North Cambridge Catholic vs. Avon, Division 4, 2:30 p.m.; Watertown vs. Scituate, Division 3, 4:15 p.m.; Reading vs. Catholic Memorial, Division 2, 6 p.m.; Central Catholic vs. BC High, Division 1, 7:45 p.m.

The Beat Goes On: Andover sprints past Central to punch its ticket to the Garden

Sport:   Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

The Beat Goes On: Andover sprints past Central to punch its ticket to the Garden
By Dave Willis
Staff Writer

LOWELL — Even normally vocal Andover forward Camille Fantini was at a loss for words.

"I can't even describe the feeling," said the senior. "This is what we have worked towards for four years and it is finally here. Now we have to keep doing our thing."

The Golden Warriors jumped out to a 13-point lead in the first quarter and never looked back in downing red-hot archrival Central Catholic 55-43 at the Division 1 North championship at the Tsongas Arena yesterday.

Andover (22-3) will now face Division 1 South champ New Bedford at the TD Banknorth Garden Tuesday at 7:45 p.m. Central, which caught fire late in the season, finished with a 16-8 mark.

"Those four seniors really stepped up," said Andover coach Jim Tildsley. "They have been with me for four years, and have lost in the semifinals three years in a row. They all wanted it so bad, and they all ended up in double figures."

Instead of one individual taking control for Andover, it was the four starting seniors that led the way. Lauren Hughes (12 points), Meghan Thomann (10 points) Fantini (11 points) and Laura Renfro (11 points) scored every Golden Warrior point in the first half, when they essentially put the game away.

"We were a little too excited coming out," said Renfro, a tenacious guard who helped her club beat Central in all three meetings this winter. "We calmed down and started to win the 1-on-1 battles. But that energy helped us."

To go with her normally stellar defense, Renfro knocked down three huge first-half 3-pointers.

"Those 3's were big because they gave us a cushion and opened up the game," said Tildsley. "And she was everywhere on defense causing turnovers."

Renfro and Hughes, who excelled on Central star Katie Zenevitch, led a defense which caused 25 turnovers and forced 32 missed shots (13 of 45 shooting). Andover committed only 15 turnovers.

"Our defense was just awesome," said Tildsley. "Zenevitch had a few putbacks early, but after that, I think we really defended well. We had to watch where Katie was, but we were mostly going man-to-man defense the whole way."

Fantini was also a force down low, scoring eight crucial points in the first half. After a scoreless first half, brilliant freshman point guard Natalie Gomez-Martinez turned it on for nine second-half points and rendered the Central press ineffective.

The Raiders did manage a late rally, cutting the deficit to nine late as Zenevitch scored 10 of her game-high 16 points after the break, and senior forward Riley Dunn came alive to pump in all 11 of her points in the second half.

"We struggled in the first half," said Central coach Sue Downer. "We put ourselves behind and you can't come back against a team like that. We tried, and we did what we could. But we missed too many shots under the basket."

The Warriors took advantage to earn a trip to the Garden.

"It's amazing," said Thomann. "I can't believe we are going to be playing on the same floor as the Boston Celtics."


Andover 55, Central Catholic 43

Division 1 North Final

Central Catholic (43): Katie Zenevitch 6 4-4 16, Gabie Polce 1 3-4 5, Jackie Vienneau 3 1-2 8, Ashley Evangelista 1 0-0 2, Riley Dunn 2 6-6 11, Melissa Miller 0 1-2 1, Gia O'Connor 0 0-0 0, Monique Gosselin 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 15-18 43

Andover (55): Lauren Hughes 6 0-0 12, Camille Fantini 4 2-2 11, Laura Renfro 4 0-1 11, Meghan Thomann 3 3-4 10, Natalie Gomez-Martinez 3 3-4 9, Kit Heinrich 0 2-2 2, Ilana Cohen 0 0-0 0, Kelly Driscoll 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 10-13 55

3-pointers: A — Renfro 3, Fantini, Thomann; CC — Vienneau, Dunn

Central Catholic (16-8): 5 7 18 13 — 43

Andover (22-3): 18 12 14 11 — 55

Next round: Division 1 North State Semifinal vs. New Bedford Tuesday, 7:45 p.m., at TD Banknorth Garden

SECTIONAL FINALS: Title slips through Wareham’s hands

Sport:   Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

SECTIONAL FINALS: Title slips through Wareham’s hands
Vikings rally, but can’t close out final game

March 09, 2008 6:00 AM

By Ed Collins
Standard-Times staff writer
BOSTON — Steven Monteiro thought the shot was in.
“It felt good coming out of my hand,” said Monteiro. “It looked good, but it just didn’t go down.”
The missed 3-pointer sealed Wareham’s fate in a 75-71 loss to Scituate in the finals of the MIAA Division 3 South Sectional.
The third-seeded Vikings (22-4) trailed 74-71 with 12.2 seconds left and, coming out of a timeout, were looking for an open 3-pointer.
Monteiro, a senior point guard who scored 20 points, worked his way open and got a shot that Wareham coach Kevin Brogioli was happy with.
“It looked good to me and I thought we were going to tie the game,” said Brogioli. “I have no problem with Steven taking that shot nine out of 10 times. It just didn’t work out this time. ...
“Steven is one of the premiere backcourt players in the state. He’s been our team leader and he was a big part of the reason we were able to get here.”
As the shot rimmed out, Wareham’s 19-game winning streak and hopes of playing in the state semifinals at TD Banknorth Garden went with it.
That the Vikings were in position to tie it a tribute to their resiliency. But their need for a last-second 3-pointer was an acknowledgement of their inability to close out the championship.
Wareham got off to a slow start, falling behind 11-2 in the first 3 minutes, 45 seconds, but the Vikings hung tough and started making some outside shots.
A pair of 3-pointers by freshman forward Jules Tavares and a trey by senior guard Aaron Frey helped the Vikings cut their deficit to 24-17 after the first quarter.
“We’ve been resilient all year, so we weren’t worried,” said Brogioli. “We fought back. It was tough getting down early in the game like that, but we settled down and started playing.”
The fourth-seeded Sailors (22-2) pushed the lead to 13, but the Vikings kept chipping away in the second quarter and cut their deficit ti 44-39 at halftime.
Wareham made its move in the third quarter, grabbing a 49-47 lead on a basket by sophomore center Ryan Pina, and the Vikings built their biggest lead of the game (62-54) on a 3-pointer by Monteiro with 31 seconds left.
But the Sailors answered with a 17-4 run and took the lead for good on a fast-break layup by senior forward Keith Fleury that made it 68-66 with 4:43 remaining.
Scituate attacked the basket the whole game behind sensational sophomore point guard Rodney Beldo, who had a game-high 27 points, and won the battle of the boards with some strong play from 6-foot-6 senior forward Blaine O’Brien and 6-9 senior center Sean McCarthy. But the Sailors made only four of eight free throws in the final 3:14, allowing Wareham to hang around.
The Vikings pulled to within 72-70 on a basket by Tavares with 1:20 left to play and they kept it a 73-71 game on a free throw by Monteiro.
McCarthy hit one of two free throws to make it a three-point game with 39.5 seconds remaining, and that set the stage for Monteiro’s missed 3-pointer in the final seconds.
“We played with a lot of heart and passion. We gave it everything we had,” said Monteiro. “They outrebounded us and they got a lot of calls in the fourth quarter. It went right down to the wire and we had our chance, but it didn’t work out for us.”
Tavares, a talented 6-foot freshman forward, finished with a team-high 22 points and made four 3-pointers for the Vikings, who also got a 19-point effort from senior forward Val Pina.
“Scituate was everything we thought they were going to be. We knew their big guys would be tough on the boards and they did a nice job running the ball,” said Brogioli. “We played well. We just came up a little short at the end. I really liked what we did in the third quarter and we felt good heading into the fourth quarter with the lead. We battled down the stretch, but they made more shots than we did.
“It’s always tough to lose when you get to this level. Unless you win it all, it’s a letdown and that’s how we feel right now.”
Contact Ed Collins at ecollins@s-t.com

Scituate (22-2)
O’Brien 2-5-9, Fleury 6-2-14, Beldo 9-7-27, Malone 4-2-10, Condon 3-0-6, McCarthy 3-3-9. Totals: 27-19-75.
Wareham (22-4)
Frye 3-0-8, Monteiro 5-7-20, Pina 8-3-19, Tavares 7-4-22, Bennett 1-0-2. Totals: 24-14-71.
Scituate 24 20 12 19 - 75
Wareham 17 22 23 9 - 71
3-point goals: S-Beldo 2; W-Frye 2, Monteiro 3, Tavares 4.

Sectional final: Heartbreaking loss for Dartmouth

Sport:   Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Sectional final: Heartbreaking loss for Dartmouth
Ferocious rally done in by last-second shot
Standard-Times correspondent

BOSTON — Of all the heart-stopping comebacks Dartmouth induced this season, the last one went for naught.
The Indians wiped out an 18-point second-half deficit, but fell 81-79 on a last-second shot to Catholic Memorial on Saturday in the MIAA Division 2 South Sectional championship at UMass Boston.
CM’s Brendan Monteiro drained a jumper from the top of the key with 1.1 seconds left, sending the Knights to TD Banknorth Garden for the state semifnals and Dartmouth home to stew.
“I was right under the hoop,” Dartmouth forward Justin Mello said. “As soon as he shot it, I knew it was in. I was just looking at the clock see if we had any time left.”
CM stormed the court after Monterio’s bucket, but the game wasn’t over. Officials put 1.1 seconds back on the clock. Mello in-bounded to Ryan Andrew, whose three-quarter-court heave went over the backboard and the Knights successfully defended their crown.
“It’s not easy,” Catholic Memorial coach Denis Tobin said of repeating. “Dartmouth made us work for it.”
Dartmouth had two 14-point comebacks in the Division 2 tournament, against Mansfield in the first round and against Stoughton in the semifinals. The Indians also came from behind late in the quarterfinal win over O’Bryant.
“Got to give (CM) credit,” Dartmouth coach Steve Gaspar said. “They had an answer for it. Like I told the kids, only one team goes away happy.”
The Indians opened the game with a 10-0 run before CM scored its first bucket at 5:03 of the first quarter. But the Knights then went on a 26-6 run. Dartmouth turned the ball over 14 times in the first half and Catholic Memorial led 38-31 at the break.
“In the first half, we made too many uncontested turnovers,” Gaspar said. “We probably lost it in the first half.”
Catholic Memorial went on another run to start the third quarter. Julian Colarusso scored on three straight lay-ups to give CM a 44-31 lead. Monteiro sank a 3-pointer and Monteiro laid another in to take a 52-35 lead. CM stretched the lead to 60-42 before the momentum swung back to Dartmouth.
“The defense brought us back,” Gaspar said. “We dig ourselves a hole all the time. They kept saying we’re going to win the game.”
Dartmouth cut the lead to 71-64 and they forced CM’s Colarusso to foul out with 4:48 remaining in the fourth quarter, ending his night with 19 points. The Indians tied it at 71 with 3:22 left on three lay-ups by Jordan Todman and a coast-to-coast lay-up by Mello. CM went up 75-71 on back-to-back buckets by Monteiro and Allen Harris.
Owen Higham then sank a long 3-ponter cutting the lead to one. Mike Ennis sank two foul shots for 77-74 lead with 58.5 seconds left. Dartmouth called a timeout to set up a play to free Mello in the corner. He drained the ‘3,’ tying the game at 77 with 47 seconds left.
“I was looking to shoot the ‘3’,” Mello, who finished with 22 points, said. “I had a couple other misses, but you got to keep on shooting. Eventually they’ll fall. That one fell at a good point in the game.”
CM came back and Lincoln Wright scored on a drive down the lane. Mike Toole answered back with a tieing lay-up 79-79. That’s when Monteiro took the ball the length of the court and calmly hit the game-winning jumper as Mike Toole got a hand in his face.
“The last minute was just crazy,” Tobin said. “I’m lucky to have a player like Brendan Monteiro, who at the high school level, is pretty much unguardable.”
“(Monteiro) made a tough shot. Michael was right there,” Gaspar said. “If we had it on the last possession, we probably would have scored.”
Contact Mike Rocha at mrocha@s-t.com

Dartmouth (19-4)
Hodge 0-1-1, Toole 4-2-10, Todman 7-3-17, Andrew 3-3-9, Higham 5-1-13, Mello 10-2-22, Valacha 1-0-2. Totals 33-10-79
Catholic Memorial (20-4)
Monteiro 9-1-22, Colorusso 8-3-19, Harris 5-3-14, Tagger 4-2-13, Wright 3-2-8 Ennis 1-3-5. Totals 30-14-81
Dartmouth 16 15 24 25 79
CM 19 19 27 16 81
3-pointers: D-Mello 2, Higham; CM-Wright 2, Tagger 3, Harris, Monteiro.

Historic win for New Bedford girls

Sport:   Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Historic win for New Bedford girls
MIAA Division 1 South Sectional finals

Standard-Times correspondent
March 09, 2008 6:00 AM
BOSTON — Shelly Depina and Stephanie Houtman are finally sectional champions.
Depina and Houtman had three straight volleyball seasons end with losses to Barnstable in the MIAA South Sectional finals, but the New Bedford seniors helped the girls basketball program to the biggest win in Whalers history Saturday.
Depina and Houtman combined for 20 points in a 65-62 victory over Sandwich in the MIAA Division 1 South Sectional title game.
“No question about it we’ve been to the semis twice in my tenure and lost, so it’s history,” coach Mickey Gonsalve said.
What was history for the program exorcised some personal demons for Depina and Houtman.
“I’ve been here so many times, the fourth time we get a win,” Houtman said. “It (stinks) so much going home with a loss.”
The Whalers will face North Sectional champion Andover at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday at TD Banknorth Garden in the EMass Division 1 final.
“I can’t wait. I’m kissing the floor,” Houtman said.
“I’ve never been there,” Depina said. “Getting there is the best feeling. … I mean, senior year, There’s nothing better.”
Sandwich hung tough with the Whalers, leading 14-12 after one and a 30-29 lead at the break. To Depina, it wasn’t so much what Sandwich had done, but what the Whalers hadn’t.
“I think at halftime, we know how good we are and how good we should’ve been playing,” Depina said. “We knew we could have played better.”
The Whalers capitalized out of the break. Alyssa Roach scored with a lay-up off a turnover to tie the game at 40, then give the Whalers a 42-40 lead with a fast-break lay-up. Depina capped a 10-0 run with a putback, giving the Whalers a 44-40 lead.
Sandwich’s Erin Reardon tied it at 44 with a runner in the lane. Houtman answered back to give the Whalers a 46-44 lead with 22 seconds left in the quarter. And after a Sandwich turnover, Brittany Mello was fouled on a lay-up and sank the free throw to make it 49-44 at the end of the third quarter.
“Brittany was beastly today,” Houtman said.
Mello, a sophomore, finished with game-high 22 points.
The Whalers looked comfortable early in the fourth, stretching the lead to 61-55 on back-to-back lay-ups by Mello, before Melissa Morrissey sank a lay-up off a turnover and Jess Thomas banked in a 3-pointer, cutting the lead to 61-60 and making the Whalers sweat out the final minute.
“I’m nervous in every game,” Houtman said. “I was like, ‘I can’t believe she hit that shot off the backboard.’ But we had been playing well all game, so I was OK. If I’m nervous that means we’re in the game, so I’m OK with that.”
“When she hit that ‘3’ off the board a lot of things were going through my head,” Gonsalves said. “But I think we can accept it because it was good defense, just better offense.”
The Whalers quickly answered back. Mello grabbed another rebound and her putback gave the Whalers a 63-60 lead. Roach then hit two free throws to give the Whalers a 65-60 lead. Sandwich’s Leigh Crivelli hit a lay-up for a 65-62 deficit with 11 seconds remaining.
Sandwich was forced to foul. Depina missed the foul shot with 4.9 seconds left, but Mello grabbed the rebound and found Houtman near mid-court. She dribbled out the clock and wildly chucked the ball away, then let out a scream of satisfaction and relief.
“Nobody wants their high school career to end,” Houtman said. “But if it’s going to end, you want it to end with a win.”
Contact Mike Rocha at mrocha@s-t.com

New Bedford 65,
Sandwich 62
New Bedford
Johnson 1-1-3, Depina 3-0-6, Roach 3-3-10, Houtman 4-6-14, Gomes 2-1-5, Mello 9-4-22, Manny 2-0-5. Totals: 24-15-65
Jordan 2-0-4, Thomas 6-5-21, Morrisey 1-2-4, Gould 8-4-21, Crivelli 1-0-2, Reardon 5-0-10. Ttals 23-11-62
New Bedford 12 17 20 16—65
Sandwich 14 16 14 18—62
3-pointers: NB - Roach, Manny; S - Thomas 4, Gould

Season over for Knights

Sport:   Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Season over for Knights

March 09, 2008
Sandwich's Ellery Gould (21) added 21 points to her school record, giving her 1,545 career points.
BOSTON — After it all — the upsets and the glory, the wins and a record — the Sandwich High School girls basketball team's run ended with a sputter; a tipped ball in front of a packed house chanting for a boys playoff game that followed.

So, too, did the brilliant career of Blue Knights senior Ellery Gould, whose last offensive play at Sandwich — an assist to teammate Leigh Crivelli — came with a sense of desperation, rather than the joy that had become commonplace for the blue and white over the past few weeks.

With seconds left on the clock, New Bedford sophomore Brittany Mello knocked away a missed free throw, and the Knights' state title dreams slipped away, 65-62, in the Division 1 South Sectional final at UMass-Boston.

All of a sudden, it was finished.

The tears flowed on the Sandwich bench, and the fans who'd celebrated the 10th-seeded Knights' sectionals wins over Brook Farm, Marshfield and Barnstable were left shell-shocked and quiet.

The players were off the court as soon as they gathered their Div. 1 South finalist trophy and crumpled gray warm-up T-shirts. No. 5 New Bedford (19-5) celebrated its trip to the state semifinals, and the BC High and Brockton boys fans who'd made their presence known even during the girls game ramped up for their contest.

The season had ended quickly, brutally and without pomp and circumstance. Within minutes, a capacity crowd was roaring in anticipation of the night's featured event, and that the Knights and Whalers had duked it out was largely pushed aside.

But Sandwich won't forget. Not anytime soon.

"They're kind of broken up right now, but they've set the standard for our program," coach Marty Cosgrove said, talking to a single reporter in a lonely cinder block hallway. "I think this shows how our basketball program's been. I don't think you're ever prepared as a coach to talk about the last game. It's tough, and the kids are broken up, but there isn't one of the 12 that shouldn't hold their head up high."

The Knights, who finish 15-7, were the only six-loss team to reach a South final yesterday.

With Sandwich trailing by four with a minute left, senior Jess Thomas drained a 3-pointer (the last of her 21 points), narrowing the gap to 61-60. After a putback by New Bedford star Mello (24 points) and a pair of free throws by the Whalers' Alyssa Roach, the Knights trailed 65-60, but weren't finished.

Gould dished to Crivelli to make it a one-possession game. A desperation foul later, New Bedford's Shelly Depina missed the front end of a one-and-one at the other end, but Mello knocked the rebound away to drain the clock.

"We had a great run," said Cosgrove, whose team led 30-29 at halftime. "We were fortunate we were able to do that. We don't have any regrets about it."

For Gould, who played her last team game for Sandwich, it was the end of a record-breaking career. Her co-team-high 21 points last night left her with 1,545 with the Knights, the all-time high at the school.

"It's hard to believe it's over," Gould said. "I wish we could have kept going. I don't know if it's really sunk in."

Junior forward Erin Reardon scored 10 points for Sandwich. Cosgrove called her a big part of next year's squad, tasked with building upon this year's unforgettable run.

"I hope the kids realize getting here is a great accomplishment," Cosgrove said. "Now that they've had a taste of it, I hope they want to make this their goal every year. Three points short of going to Boston Garden, that's a bummer. But I'm happy for them."

Staff writer Adam Smartschan can be reached at asmartschan@capecodonline.com.

Tantalizing win for Tantasqua

Sport:   Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Tantalizing win for Tantasqua
Sunday, March 09, 2008

WORCESTER - For about 29 minutes last night, things didn't look good for Tantasqua Regional High School's undefeated season.

St. Bernard's of Fitchburg controlled the Central Massachusetts Division II boys basketball final for most of the first 3½ quarters, but left the Warriors of Fiskdale enough breathing room to mount a late charge.

Seniors Brian Vayda and Marcus Gaudet came up with big shots over the final 2:29 to turn a 59-53 deficit into an exciting 63-62 Tantasqua victory at WPI's Harrington Auditorium.    

"I'm not going to lie, I was a little scared," said Gaudet, whose 3-pointer cut the deficit to 59-58. "I had faith in what we could do, and I knew we had it in us."

Vayda had the final five points of the game, all on free throws, over the last 32.6 seconds and finished with a game-high 26.

If the 23-0 Warriors are a Goliath of sorts, then their next opponent is definitely David. Western Massachusetts champion South Hadley takes a 10-14 record into Tuesday's state semifinal at the Mullins Center in Amherst, a rematch of last year's tilt.

"We just have to practice hard and let coach (Jeff Child) tell us what we need to do, and hopefully we can capitalize," said Gaudet, who finished with 12 points.

After a lackluster first 16 minutes, in which they allowed numerous open looks, the Warriors kicked up the defensive intensity in the second half. They held St. Bernard's guard Timothy Henault to only five points after he scored 15 in the first half.

Tantasqua kept loose balls alive, made big steals in the backcourt and generally took the opposition out of its game and set the stage for the comeback.

"It was completely our defense," Child said. "When we walked out of the half, I told the guys, 'Don't worry about what the score is. Don't let that distract you from what you need to be doing.'"

Hustle on the defensive end was an important part of Tantasqua's rally. Vayda kept two plays alive under the basket and forced two tie-ups. He kept numerous plays alive and was not afraid to get to the line when it mattered.

"I know a lot of the guys said they wanted me on the line," Vayda said. "We practice those in practice. I had to feel confident that I knew I could hit them."

Vayda and Gaudet took different paths to their current roles as seniors on this year's squad. The 6-foot-5 Vayda has been a do-everything contributor his whole career, while the 5-foot-8 Gaudet finally stepped out of a reserve role to be an excellent starting point guard.

"(Brian) is a big-time player. He's a happy-go-lucky kid," Child said. "Marcus sat the bench all last year, and he's done a tremendous job."

Another senior, Ryan White, scored 14 points and had several key rebounds down the stretch to either start transition opportunities or keep possessions going.

"We realized in the first half that we left them too many offensive boards and second shots," Vayda said. "We switched up our defense so we could focus on one guy and box him out."

Season is on the line today

Sport:   Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Season is on the line today
Sunday, March 09, 2008

The long overdue Western Massachusetts Division IIIA hockey tournament has been a smashing success and it will conclude this afternoon with the championship game at the MassMutual Center.

It doesn't matter to either top seed Greenfield (19-1-2) nor No. 6 Agawam (12-7-3) that the season ends today with the title game at 1 p.m.

It's an opportunity that came about thanks to the relentless lobbying of the MIAA by East Longmeadow athletic director Matt Bean. In the past, Berry Division teams dominated teams from the Fay/Wright and Hennessey divisions and now those teams are thankful they have a tourney to call their own.
Because no other schools in the Commonwealth play Division IIIA, the winner does not advance to a state tournament. But playing for a sectional title is something Agawam and Greenfield have not been able to do on the ice in a long time.

Agawam last reached a final in 1988 when it played at the Division I level. Greenfield has not been in a final since 1993.

Greenfield got a big game from Swedish exchange student Carl Ihrelius, whose goal 1 minute, 55 seconds into overtime lifted the Green Wave to a 2-1 semifinal victory over Easthampton. Greenfield forced overtime when Lucas Bayer scored with 11.5 seconds remaining in regulation.

Ihrelius is from Gothenburg, Sweden, the same city as Ottawa Senators right wing Daniel Alfredsson, who happens to be his favorite player.

Ihrelius has good hands and speed. He's dangerous around the net.

But Greenfield, which lost only one game this season, has more than one standout player. Tym Dore, Roger Conant and Bayer can also put the puck in the net.

"We know everyone is gunning for us because we're the No. 1 seed," coach Mike Duclos said. "We'll work hard and just take it period by period."

That was Dore's attitude going into overtime against Easthampton.

"We know we're going to score - there are no heroes," Dore said.

Agawam had the same attitude when it rallied from a one-goal deficit to beat Holyoke 5-3 in the semifinals.

"Our kids understand the game and they know what hard work is," coach Rich Feeley said. "We're excited about being in the final and this is what we've been striving for all year."

Mason Richard had a natural hat trick to spark the win over Holyoke despite an injured shoulder.

"I've been waiting to get into a final for three years, and it's going to be a great game," Richard said. "We need to keep the momentum going."

Greenfield beat and tied Agawam during the regular season.

Quaboag races to sixth straight title

Sport:   Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Quaboag races to sixth straight title
Sunday, March 09, 2008

WORCESTER - After handling Hopedale, the Dual Valley Conference's champion, on Thursday night, it looked as though No. 2 Quaboag was going to have absolutely no problem with DVC runner-up Sutton in the Central Massachusetts Division III Girls Basketball Final yesterday.

That was it in a nutshell, as the Cougars captured their sixth straight sectional championship in a 54-35 rout of the No. 4 Suzies at WPI's Harrington Auditorium.

Quaboag (23-1) simply ran away with things in the first two minutes as Macey Gaumond, Meaghan O'Keefe and Olivia Jankins combined for the game's first 10 points. Gaumond hit a free throw to begin the rout before she hit an 18-footer on a Samantha McCann pass. On the next trip, Gaumond fed Jankins with a nifty bullet pass for a layup before Jankins came up with a steal as soon as Sutton touched the ball and put it up with a flourish and a foul.
"We tried to set the tone early," said Quaboag second-year coach John Vayda. "We knew (Sutton) was big, and if they got the ball inside, we were going to have trouble with them."

Sutton (20-3) then got on the board on Amanda Copeland's 3-pointer before Quaboag scored the next eight points with Meghan Burns, O'Keefe and Gaumond doing the honors.

The Cougars' defense was incredibly tenacious, especially in the first half. It limited Sutton to six points in each of the first two quarters while executing with knife-like precision and being relentless on the glass. O'Keefe scored a pair off the offensive boards to start the second quarter, sandwiching a deadly bullet pass from Jankins for a layup.

"I was extremely happy with the way we handled the boards," Vayda said. "Sutton boxes out like crazy. We were concerned that we were going to be in a battle on the boards even though we have the size."

The Cougars held an 18-6 lead after the first quarter and led by as many as 26 in the third.

Quaboag moved on to the state semifinals, where it will play Lee Wednesday.

Quaboag beat Lee earlier this season by 30 points. Vayda knows that won't be the case at the Mullins Center.

"I'll tell you what: I'm worried. (Lee head coach Tom) Cinella, I know he's cooking something up," Vayda said. "It won't be the team we played the third game of the season up at our place."

Palmer makes history

Sport:   Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Palmer makes history
Sunday, March 09, 2008

AMHERST - With the seconds ticking away in the final minute of play, Katrina Caulfield was still able to squeeze in a few more good deeds to complete her rather memorable performance.

The sophomore forward calmly drained a pair of free throws, used her athleticism to make a steal on the perimeter and then dropped another couple from the line.

Her efforts, from start to finish, helped boost the Palmer High School girls basketball team past Monument Mountain of Great Barrington 53-45 yesterday in the Western Massachusetts Division II final at Curry Hicks Cage.

Caulfield certainly had plenty of help from her friends, but her 27 points and 16 rebounds keyed a strong inside game that propelled the third-seeded Panthers to the upset of the top-seeded Spartans and the first girls sectional title in school history.

It was Caulfield's fourth consecutive double-double in the tournament, but it was a far better offensive output for a player who had never topped 20 previously.

"She rose to the occasion," teammate Alyssa Orszulak said. "We kept coming to her. We felt there was a mismatch inside, and she just played absolutely phenomenally."

Palmer (21-3) will meet Central Massachusetts champion Millbury (19-3) at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Mullins Center in Amherst. Millbury, the top seed in its sectional, beat Groton Dunstable 70-61 yesterday to advance.

"I'm just so excited," Caulfield said. "Everyone believed we wouldn't win. ... We went inside in the first half, too. You just have all the big-game nerves. You have to get used to the fans, the crowd and everything."

Monument (19-4) held the upper hand for better than a half, using a 16-4 run that started in the second quarter to build a 36-23 bulge by the 4:36 mark of the third. Caulfield made a couple of quick baskets inside, and Orszulak forced a couple of turnovers to start a swing in momentum.

Two baskets from forward Shannon Supczak, who finished with 10 points, sustained the rally as the Panthers pulled within 38-36 after three.

"This team has just had a knack for bearing down," Palmer coach Bernie Fontaine said. "A lot of good things have happened to us this year. I don't analyze it, but this team has a heart as big as all outdoors."

Caulfield scored her team's first six points of the fourth quarter, and Orszulak then put Palmer up 44-42 with a rather fortunate jumper that banked home. The two then finished the job from the line, with Caulfield making those last four after Alyssa Nejaime's 3-pointer pulled the Spartans within 47-45 with 26.3 seconds to play.

Monument had its share of good looks in the second half, but the shots did not fall and there was no answer for Caulfield inside. Riley Baldwin had 19 points in defeat.

"Our kids hadn't lost since the 28th of December," Monument coach Tom Kinne said, "that's the longest any team of mine has ever gone, boys or girls. We did that by making big shots and doing the other things, but today was one of those basketball games where the shots didn't go in."

The Panthers did make enough shots, and they also played like the savvy seniors they are not, like the tourney-tested team they were not only two weeks ago.

"It's a great accomplishment for us," Supczak said. "Nobody thought we could come this far."

Lee captures another title

Sport:   Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Lee captures another title
Sunday, March 09, 2008

AMHERST - Sweet 16.

Lee, long the queen of high school girls basketball in Western Massachusetts, won its 16th sectional title yesterday.

The Wildcats' 63-43 victory over Granby in the Division III final at Curry Hicks Cage at the University of Massachusetts also marked the Berkshire County program's 15th crown in 20 years.

"It's a team game and we talk about playing together ... we had to, and we did," Lee coach Tom Cinella said.

No. 1 Lee (19-4) advanced to the state semifinal against the Quaboag Regional (23-1), a 54-35 winner over Sutton in the Central Massachusetts final. Tipoff is set for 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Mullins Center.

Defending champion and No. 2 Granby finished at 14-9. The Rams, with four senior starters, made their fourth trip in five years to the final.

"Lee was definitely the better team today," Granby coach Tom Burke said. "We had too many turnovers, but it was a great year. We came so far as a team."

Lee never relinquished a double-digit lead after its first possession of the second half, playing a terrific defensive game and holding a decisive rebounding advantage.

"We knew we had to rebound, and we all had to help on defense," Lee guard Megan Gangell said.

Lee improved to 15-3 in sectional finals and 18-1 at the Cage under Cinella, who now has 374 wins with the girls team and 470 overall.

"It's all different, every year and every team is different," Cinella said.

Lee led by nine midway through the second quarter, before it took command when it limited Granby to one field goal during the next 12 minutes. By then the lead was 21, with seven minutes left in the game. Granby senior guard Genn Roy scored 15 points, but Lee limited her to four field goals on 11 attempts.

"Their defense took it to us," Roy said. "It was a little frustrating, but we played hard. We're like sisters out there."

 "The defense on Genn, as a team, was very good," Burke said. "And the last thing we wanted to do was force the ball to her."

Lee took its largest lead of the first half at 22-10, when it closed the first quarter with a 16-4 run during the final 3:15. The Wildcats drained three 3-pointers to pull out in front.

"They made some outside shots, but we were OK with that, because they weren't going to make them all game," Burke said. "Their press was so tough, we missed layups when we got over the top to break it and they had too many second chances at our basket."

Granby recovered with a 7-0 run to start the second, before Lee's Nicole LePrevost (10 first-half points) made four straight baskets in the paint to help extend a five-point lead to 30-19 during the final minute of the half.

Lee's defense limited Roy (18 points per game average) to a deep 3-pointer, and seven first-half points. Granby cut the lead to 30-21 at the half, despite being held to three offensive putbacks and Roy's 3-pointer in the second quarter.

"We were OK at the half, we had cut the lead to five," Burke said.

Lee did well to limit Roy's looks at the basket. The Merrimack College-bound senior was 2 of 6 from the floor in the first half and 4 of 11 overall.

"Roy is right there with the best players around," Cinella said. "We had to limit what she Roy did."

Roy went 16 minutes without a field goal, from the 7-minute mark of the second period to the opening minute of the fourth.

Lauren Livingstone and Stacy Smigiel added seven points apiece for Granby.

LeProvost led Lee with 16 points and eight rebounds, Gangell scored 14 and Becca Webb added 11 points and seven boards.

The teams met in the final for the third straight year and fourth time in five years. Lee also won in 2004 and '06.

Granby was a 62-46 winner last season, earning its first sectional title and advancing to the state final.

Familiar foes meet again -

Sport:   Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Familiar foes meet again
Sunday, March 09, 2008

A couple of old friends will renew acquaintances this afternoon at the MassMutual Center

No.1 Westfield (13-5-2) plays No. 3. Longmeadow (11-8-2) for the Western Massachusetts Division III high school hockey championship for the fifth time since 2002 at 3 p.m.

Westfield advanced with a 7-4 triumph over No. 4 Minnechaug and Longmeadow beat No. 2 East Longmeadow 3-2 during last Saturday's semifinals. Westfield is the reigning champ and comes into the game as the favorite.

But don't tell that to Westfield coach C.B. "Moose" Matthews.

"Every game gets tougher now and this will be a game of strength versus strength," Matthews said. "Longmeadow's on fire and they are playing more aggressive on the puck."

Westfield junior goalie Alex Wiggs has followed in the footsteps of Bruce Landon Award winning goalie Mike Sullivan.

"There's a lot of pressure out there, and he has handled it very well," Matthews said. "We didn't know if we were going to have the same type of goalie as Mike Sullivan, but he's come up big."

So has Rich Asselin, who is playing despite an arm injury.

"He's a hockey player," Matthews said. "He's not ready to have his career end."

Expect a close game between the Berry Division rivals. Westfield has been consistent all season. Longmeadow overcame a sluggish start and has won five of its last six games, including a victory over the Bombers.

"They did beat us the last time we played, and we know they are going to come out strong," Westfield senior forward Sean Frere said. "We need to make sure we come out ready to play."

Frere knows his team has the bull's-eye on its back as the top seed.

"There's always pressure when you are the No. 1 seed because everyone is always gunning for you," he said. "But it's all up to us now."

 Longmeadow was a team in transition when the regular season began. High-scoring forward Ryan Kelleher and defenseman Ben Liebel opted to go to prep school.

If that wasn't enough, the Lancers lost top forward Mike Carlson (to ineligibility) prior to the tournament. No team has overcome more adversity than Longmeadow and it didn't stop come tourney time.

In their semifinal, the Lancers were down by two goals and lost starting goalie Billy Mooney to a head injury following a second period collision. But Longmeadow rallied behind sophomore goalie Trevor Shea and scored the next three goals to claim a 3-2 decision.

"Trevor really stepped up," said Joyce, who won't hesitate to use him if Mooney is unable to go.

The key to the semifinal win was Longmeadow's defense, which may be thin, but has talent.

"We only play four defensemen," Joyce said. "They're all playing well and we've kept a lot of good teams to one, two or three goals."

That defense will be tested against Westfield's wave of fleet forwards such as Corey Bellamy, Asselin and Frere.

Bellamy dominated last year's title game and it was his natural hat trick that helped Westfield beat East Longmeadow for the title.

"We'll need to crash the net and keep playing physical," Longmeadow senior Chris Hess said. "We'll need to use our speed."

Tournament experience should help both teams.

"This is what it's all about," said Joyce, whose seniors will play in their third final in the last four years.

Gardner 5, Hudson 3: Gardner skates to CMass title

Sport:   Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Gardner 5, Hudson 3: Gardner skates to CMass title
By Matt Porter
Globe Correspondent / March 9, 2008

WORCESTER - Heading into the second period, Gardner and Hudson were even. Each team put 12 shots on net in the first, and each team converted twice. As the Zamboni circled the ice at the DCU Center, both teams had a equal shot at winning the CMass title.

But Gardner came out flying in the second stanza, battering Hudson with three goals on five shots, leading to a 5-3 win and its second-consecutive CMass title.

"If you want to [teach] someone how to play, you look at the tape of the second period. They did everything by the book," said Gardner coach Jean-Guy Gagnon, whose team got second-period goals from Tyrone Notice, Damian Blodgett, and Andrew Johnson.

Though buoyed by a hat trick from senior Jon Gould, the Hawks gave Gardner too much space to execute.

The Wildcats will play the winner of today's WMass final between Westfield and Longmeadow Thursday at the DCU Center.

"I'm proud to be a part of this team," said Gagnon. "They don't expect to lose."

MIAA Division 2 North hockey final: Wilmington 4, Tewksbury 3 (SO)

Sport:   Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

MIAA Division 2 North hockey final | Wilmington 4, Tewksbury 3 (SO)
Hair-raising victory for Cabral, Wildcats
By Emily Werchadlo
Globe Correspondent / March 9, 2008

BILLERICA - Wilmington's blond ambition will continue.

Sporting high school hockey's worst dye job, the top-seeded Wildcats upended Tewksbury, 4-3, last night at Chelmsford Forum, winning a shootout, 2-1. With the Division 2 North title in hand, Wilmington (17-2-4) will play for the state title next Sunday at TD Banknorth Garden against the winner of today's South final between Franklin and Sandwich.

"Incredible. I couldn't even breathe at one point," said Wilmington coach Stephen Scanlon. "We made history tonight."

After making more than 40 saves in regulation and overtime, Wilmington senior Michael Cabral stymied the Redmen on four of five shootout attempts. Wildcat senior Eric Siegel scored the winning goal in the shootout.

"I tried to visualize what they were going to do," said Cabral. "As soon as the last shot hit my glove, I was ecstatic."

Tewksbury (17-4-3) struck first, four minutes into the contest. Marc Legere fed Mike Taylor, who flicked it in past Cabral. Five minutes later, the Redmen struck again. On a two-on-one, Paul Tosto set up Scott Capraro's goal.

"We struggled with their speed early in the game," said Scanlon.

That goal woke up the Wildcats, who scored seconds later when Siegel's rebound was converted by Ernie Mello.

The Redmen outshot Wilmington, 21-7, in the first period.

The Wildcats had just four shots in the second period but scored on two to take a 3-2 lead.

Nine minutes in, Siegel beat Tewksbury's Joshua Siberberg for a shorthanded goal. Siegel then led a three-on-two, rushing nearly to the end boards before feeding it back to Mello for the goal that gave the Wildcats a 3-2 lead.

Tewksbury tied it at 4:04 in the third period on Tosto's goal. Despite great opportunities by both sides, the score remained tied at 3, and the game went into overtime.

Overtime yielded a lot of chances but no payoffs, leading to the shootout and Wilmington's first sectional hockey title.

"It's a dream come true for all of us," said Scanlon. "For any kid who's ever put on a sweater in Wilmington, [a win Sunday] will be for them."
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