DIVISION 3 SEMIFINAL | ARCHBISHOP WILLIAMS 59, PENTUCKET 53

Sport:

Posted: November 30th, 0000 by Tom Nolette

DIVISION 3 SEMIFINAL | ARCHBISHOP WILLIAMS 59, PENTUCKET 53
Second take for Bishops
They beat Pentucket again in repeat quest

By Maggie Cassidy, Globe Correspondent  |  March 12, 2008

Archbishop Williams, the well-oiled winning machine that dominated its regular season, used its experience and depth to defeat Pentucket, 59-53, and win the girls' Division 3 EMass championship at TD Banknorth Garden yesterday.

The Braintree-based Bishops (21-2) pulled off a repeat of last year's final, in which they ousted Pentucket before defeating Granby for the state championship.

But the Sachems (21-3), who hail from West Newbury, didn't leave quietly yesterday, trailing just 24-22 at halftime and even taking a brief 2-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter. Pentucket also had 6-foot-3-inch junior Kirsten Daamen, one of the few players able to mirror Archbishop Williams's inside weapon, 6-3 sophomore Valerie Driscoll.

"We knew they were a really good team coming into it," said Christine Duffy, the Bishops' point guard. "They had that big girl to match up with Val, which was a big thing because usually we have the height advantage over some teams with Val, so I think going into here we knew it was going to be a good game."

Archbishop Williams coach Jim Bancroft agreed, saying Pentucket's defense kept the score tight.

"It was a little closer than we wanted it to be, but Pentucket played very good defense," he said. "They sagged off. We weren't hitting our outside shots, we weren't getting second and third attempts at it. They were rebounding well, so it was apparent early on that it was going to be a close, grind-out game and luckily we found a way to win."

The younger Sachems struggled to find consistency against the veteran Bishops, who remained calm and collected on the big stage.

Ashley Viselli (20 points), Daamen (16), and Erin McNamara (15) combined for all but 2 of Pentucket's 53 points, with Daamen and McNamara scoring all of the team's 22 first-half points. Viselli took charge after intermission by scoring 15 of the Sachems' 17 third-quarter points.

The Bishops were boosted by big performances from Duffy and Driscoll, and five of the seven players who scored for Archbishop Williams had at least 8 points.

Duffy finished with 12 points, including 8 in the fourth quarter. Driscoll made the big buckets - seven field goals for 14 points -- and led the team with 13 rebounds. Casey Capello and Meghan Black added 9 points apiece, while Courtney McNamara had 8.

Driscoll said she found a tough competitor in Daamen, who posted a pair of blocks against her counterpart and matched her 13 rebounds. Both players had to sit out a short span - Driscoll after she picked up two fouls in the game's first four minutes, and Daamen late in the final frame following a collision - and their absences had an impact. Daamen netted 5 points while Driscoll was out, and Driscoll made a big layup with less than two minutes to go that put the Bishops up, 55-47, just after Daamen took a seat.

"I like playing against her because I like playing against someone my height, and as big as me," Driscoll said. "I feel like it makes me a better person, it makes me work harder. She's a great post player."

Archbishop Williams looks to make it two straight state titles Saturday at 2:15 p.m. at the DCU Center in Worcester, against the winner of today's game between Lee and Sutton