“Every kid wants to play Melrose basketball. Maybe we don’t go 22-0, but maybe this propels the kids going forward to work and excel.”
After loss, St. Mary’s girls look ahead to next year
The St. Mary’s girls were 21-2 when they took on 11th-seeded Watertown, a 10-10 squad during the regular season that opened the tourney with a 47-32 win over Amesbury.
But the Spartans were derailed, sent home with a difficult 61-60 loss.
Ending the season minus a championship plaque does not translate into failure.
“If you measure success in high school in state championships, you’ll be disappointed,” said St. Mary’s coach Jeff Newhall.
“There’s a lot more good players on the boys and girls side playing year round. All it takes is one or two teams to be able to do it [upset a higher-ranked opponent]. If you’re one of those underdog teams you can say, ‘Look they did it — so we can do it too.’ It becomes a little bit more real.”
He has turned the focus to next year, when he will return all five starters.
“If the girls learned one thing — when you have the record they had, it doesn’t matter who it is — you’re going to get everybody’s best shot,” added Newhall.
“I can only say that so many times as a coach.
“After this loss, maybe that becomes real. My hope is that next year when they realize this is their last shot, they won’t let it happen again.”
There is no lack of motivation for any team starting the offseason earlier than expected.
Pat Bradley can be reached at email@example.com. Correspondents Hannah Becker and Paul Lazdowski also contributed to this story.