SPRINGFIELD — Senior center Samantha Hyslip to set the tone early for Westford Academy in a 63-51 defeat of Springfield Central on Tuesday night at Mass Mutual Center for a ticket to the Division 1 girls state final.It started on Central’s very first possession. The Dual County League MVP made a big block and took the ball the length of the court for an easy layup. Hyslip went on to score the first 6 points of the game.The Grey Ghosts fed the ball to Hyslip in the paint early and often as they built a 40-23 lead going into the half.
Trailing Watertown by 2 points with 22.0 seconds left, Cardinal Spellman called timeout to draw up a last-second play. Senior point guard Ryan Roach dribbled off a screen and roll and looked for senior forward Joe Crane down low.Roach found Crane wide open on the right block to force overtime and the Cardinals held Watertown to 2 points in the extra four minutes to knock off the Raiders, 51-44, in the Division 3 state semifinal on Tuesday at TD Garden.“That’s the way we wanted it to go, I can take credit for that,” Spellman coach Michael Perry said with a laugh. “But [the players are] the ones that worked hard. It wasn’t given to them.”
SPRINGFIELD — The 8-point hole to start Tuesday night’s Division 2 state semifinal got Concord-Carlisle senior Jamir Henderson’s attention.The Patriots needed to be aggressive, and Henderson knew he had to be the guy.Henderson and Co. kicked up the defensive intensity and attacked the rim, erasing an early hole and holding on to top Longmeadow, 65-55, at Springfield Central High School.The Patriots (22-2) will face New Mission in the Division 2 state final Saturday at 4 p.m. at the DCU Center in Worcester.Henderson finished with 13 points, and constantly attacked the rim, particularly in the second half.Longmeadow (21-2) started off red-hot from the field, jumping out to an 8-0 lead in the first three minutes. Concord-Carlisle coach David Cohen burned a timeout and the Patriots responded with increased intensity on defense and contested jump shots.
The New Mission boys’ basketball team again relied on the leadership of its seniors to punch its ticket to the Division 2 state championship with a 71-63 semifinal win over Milton Tuesday night at TD Garden. “I told them that there’s some pros that play in the NBA that sign 10-day contracts and never get to play in the Garden,” Titans coach Cory McCarthy said. “And they got to play in the Garden a full game and that’s so special. And because they understand that, they were able to step up in the big moment on the parquet floor.”Senior guard Shaquan Murray led the Titans with 18 points, and classmates and forwards Fred Rivers contributed 13 points, Asante Sandiford 11, and Sochika Nzerem 9.
When the Millis girls’ basketball team entered the postseason it was .500, seeded 15th and last in the in the Division 4 Central bracket. But the Mohawks swept through its sectional, winning four games and taking down the second and third seeds along the way to punch a ticket to a state semifinal showdown with West champion Quaboag. Millis continued its magical run Tuesday night at Clark University with a 50-32 win over the Cougars. Millis (15-10) will play New Mission in the Division 4 state final. “This is a special moment for sure,” said Millis coach Dave Fallon. “We were 10-10, but the league [Tri-Valley] we play in is the best preparation we have for the playoffs.”
According to St. Mary’s guard Brianna Rudolph, last year’s team mentality was “we can show up and win.” This year, the Spartans’ mentality changed to “we’ll show up and believe that we will win,” Rudolph said.On Tuesday, No. 6 St. Mary’s believed, and won at TD Garden, edging Archbishop Williams, 47-45, in the Division 3 state semifinal.After ending the third quarter on an 8-0 run, cutting Archbishop Williams’s 9-point lead down to 1, Rudolph opened the fourth quarter with a layup, pulling the Spartans (23-2) ahead, 35-34.
After scoring the first basket of the game, Duxbury never led again, as Arlington Catholic beat the Green Dragons, 40-27, in the Division 2 state semifinal at TD Garden to end Duxbury’s bid for an undefeated season.
SPRINGFIELD — Jennifer Gale had 13 points, and Meg Rodowicz and Emily Rosse added 12 each to lead Hoosac Valley to its first state final appearance, after its 54-52 victory over Bellingham Tuesday at the MassMutual Center in the Division 3 girls’ state semifinal.“I couldn’t be happier for the kids,” said Hurricanes coach Ronald Wojcik. “It’s been such a great group to work with all year.”The Hurricanes and the Blackhawks traded points early on, but a strong second quarter, including back-to-back 3-pointers pulled the Hurricanes ahead. The Hurricanes picked up defensively from there, while steadily adding to their lead. At the half, they held a 31-22 advantage.It wasn’t until late in the third quarter that the Blackhawks started to climb back.
As Bishop Connolly made a third-quarter run in Monday’s game, it held St. Clement without a field goal for the first 4:33 of the period.That’s when St. Clement coach Leo Boucher looked for his junior point guard to step up, and Brandon Williams delivered, scoring 13 of his game-high 22 points in the game’s final 11:27, sealing a 56-44 win for the Anchormen in the MIAA Division 4 state semifinal at TD Garden.“He’s fearless. He’s just an incredible athlete. We knew eventually Brandon was going to step up and be the player that he is,” Boucher said. “He made a huge pull-up jump shot in the fourth quarter, got some key rebounds, made some free big free throws. That’s the way it’s been all year.”
With leading scorer De’Andra Humphries out of the game with five fouls and starting center Denia Stewart on the sideline with a knee injury, an unlikely hero stepped up to help the New Mission girls’ basketball team punch its ticket to the Division 4 state championship with a 72-62 semifinal win over Greater New Bedford Monday at TD Garden.Freshman guard Taneja Drayton scored 8 of her 15 points in the fourth quarter and frustrated the Bears with her aggressive defense to give the Titans the boost they needed late in the game.“I always have to remind Taneja that although you’re a freshman, your leadership counts and extends from the bottom on down to the top,” New Mission coach Brianna Forde said.
The Braintree girls’ basketball team knows the feeling of playing at TD Garden all too well.The past two seasons, the top-ranked Wamps have walked off the court with a loss. But Monday, it was Braintree that left the parquet floor with a win, defeating No. 3 Lynn English, 59-41, in the Division 1 state semifinals to advance to the state championship game Saturday.“I think it’s a little sweeter knowing that these kids get to leave here with smiles on their face because I’ve been here in the past where I was hugging kids, taking kids out of this room, just holding them, saying, ‘It’s all right, we’ll get them next year,’ ” coach Kristin McDonnell said.
All season long, Catholic Memorial used a relentless full-court press and high-octane offense to wear down opponents. Monday night, Central Catholic attacked the Knights’ press and orchestrated a CM-style fast-paced, motion-offense to perfection en route to a 79-66 victory in the Division 1 state semifinals. While the Knights usually score off of turnovers caused by their press, the Raiders burned CM’s defense for easy layup after easy layup.“It wasn’t just their guards, all five of their players did a tremendous job moving the ball to get easy baskets,” Catholic Memorial coach Denis Tobin said.
Phil Perry selects his Players of the Week and Top 10 boys’ and girls’ basketball teams from high school programs west of Boston.
Jacob Feldman selects his Players of the Week and Top 10 boys’ and girls’ basketball teams from high school programs south of Boston.
After knocking off defending MIAA South Division 3 champion Martha’s Vineyard in the semifinals in overtime Wednesday, Cardinal Spellman outscored Westport, 13-5, in the third quarter of a grind-it-out title game for a 45-34 victory at UMass-Boston Saturday.Cardinal Spellman heads to TD Garden Tuesday for a matchup against North winner Watertown in the EMass final.
LOWELL — A half-court prayer went up as the final buzzer went off, but the shot missed, sending St. Mary’s to TD Garden for the first time since 2011 after a 47-45 victory in the Division 3 North girls’ final.Valiant efforts from Vikings senior captain Ashelyne Babb and 6-foot sophomore Nina Bartlette kept Winthrop alive, but St. Mary’s hung on, although it came inches away from letting the game slip away.
LOWELL – The Watertown High boys’ basketball team’s game methodology is clear-cut: get the ball in point guard Cesar Fulcar’s hands.“That’s how we play — we’re going to live and die with that, with Cesar making decisions for us,” Watertown coach Steve Harrington said. “He’s our floor general, as he has been all year.”It’s been a prescription for success, as Fulcar’s confidence and basketball IQ give the Red Raiders time and chances. And it helped Watertown roar past Middlesex League foe Stoneham, 48-34, in the Division 3 North final at the Tsongas Center Saturday.
The Division 2 Central Mass boys’ championship at WPI Saturday was defined by two runs by Concord-Carlisle.The Patriots trailed early in the first quarter, 6-2, and promptly went on a 13-0 run, led by senior guard Jamir Henderson’s 7 first-quarter points that allowed them to take a 17-11 lead into the second quarter. Then the Patriots finished the half on a 14-2 run, led by sophomore center Eric Sellew’s 7 second-quarter points. Excellent team defense and rebounding enabled Concord-Carlisle to finish off Hopkinton for a 66-55 victory.
LOWELL — New Mission’s 61-50 victory over Danvers in Saturday’s Division 2 North final at the Tsongas Center helped punch its ticket to TD Garden for the EMass semifinals against Milton Tuesday night.It also marked the end of the line for the Falcons, who won the last two Division 3 state titles and had their 14-game tournament win streak stopped.The New Mission boys will join their female counterparts at the Garden, with the girls besting Fenway Friday, 43-36, for the Division 4 North championship. They play Greater New Bedford Monday. The many talents of Fred Rivers were on display for the New Mission boys Saturday, with Rivers doing whatever it took to win.
Three clutch free throws in overtime by junior Malik Malcolm gave Milton a 71-69 victory over Sharon in the Division 2 South boys’ basketball final Saturday at UMass-Boston.Sharon senior guard Brian Mukasa had made a 3-pointer with 2.4 seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime.With 30 seconds left in OT and his team trailing, 69-68, Malcolm stepped to the stripe and crouched down. The 6-foot-3-inch forward took a moment to collect himself before nailing both shots to put Milton on top.“I had to knock those down, my team needed me,” Malcolm said.Malcolm drew another foul with just 6.7 seconds left in OT and hit another free throw to make it 71-69.
The top-ranked Braintree girls’ basketball team refused to talk about the possibility of playing on the parquet floor at TD Garden this season.In fact, the Wamps weren’t allowed to mention it — until Saturday, when, improbably, Braintree rallied from a 22-point first-half deficit against Bay State League foe Newton North for a stunning 58-45 victory in the Division 1 South championship game.Coach Kristen McDonnell told her players to cut their 14-point halftime deficit to at least 6 points by the end of the third quarter.And that is exactly what the Wamps did, draining back-to-back 3-pointers at the end of the quarter.
LOWELL — A size advantage was the difference for the third-seeded Arlington Catholic girls’ basketball team, as it held off top-ranked Watertown, 42-35, to capture the Division 2 North title Saturday at the Tsongas Center.“I do think our size helped us out today, absolutely,” said Cougars coach Dave Brady. “There’s a lot of size in our league, too. So the opportunity to play those kinds of teams really helped us out today.”
A year after coming up just short, the Duxbury High girls’ basketball team is headed to the Division 2 EMass finals. The Dragons earned the South title with a 41-26 victory over Sharon at UMass-Boston Saturday.Duxbury (24-0) relied on the defense that got it to the sectional final, holding the Eagles to 4 points in the first quarter and a season-low 26 points.Sharon struggled to get shots off against Duxbury’s forwards: 5-foot-11-inch senior Haley McLaughlin, 6-0 junior Catherine Harrison, and 6-4 junior Molly Quilty. No Eagle is taller than 5-10.
New Mission’s 61-50 victory over Danvers in Saturday’s Division 2 North final at the Tsongas Center helped punch its ticket to TD Garden for the EMass final against Milton Tuesday night.It also marked the end of the line for the Falcons, who won the last two Division 3 state titles and had their 14-game tournament win streak stopped.Milton 71, Sharon 69 — Three clutch free throws in overtime by junior Malik Malcolm gave Milton a victory over Sharon in the Division 2 South final at UMass-Boston.Sharon senior guard Brian Mukasa had made a 3-pointer with 2.4 seconds left to send the game to overtime.With 30 seconds left in OT and Milton trailing, 69-68, Malcolm stepped to the stripe and crouched down. The 6-foot-3-inch forward took a moment to collect himself before nailing both shots.
Watertown’s methodology is clear-cut: get the ball in point guard Cesar Fulcar’s hands.“That’s how we play — we’re going to live and die with that, with Cesar making decisions for us,” Watertown coach Steve Harrington said. “He’s our floor general, as he has been all year.”It’s been a prescription for success, as Fulcar’s confidence and basketball IQ give the Red Raiders time and chances. And it helped Watertown roar past Middlesex League foe Stoneham, 48-34, in the Division 3 North final at the Tsongas Center Saturday.Cardinal Spellman 45, Westport 34— Sensing the moment, Cardinal Spellman outscored Westport, 13-5, in the third quarter of a grind-it-out game to win the Division 3 South title at UMass-Boston.
Hayley Wardwell, Jenny Worden, and Joie Grassi first played Amateur Athletic Union ball together in the fourth grade. Meghan Raab joined their Bay State Magic squad two years later. The four have grown close while playing more than 500 games together and developing into one of the best AAU programs in the state. The girls have all enjoyed all of the success, but their favorite AAU memories have often come off the court: in hotel rooms, malls, and amusement parks up and down the East Coast. “We all have the same goals, we all want to become better basketball players and we’ve made each other better,” said Wardwell, who along with Worden and Grassi stands 5-feet-10, while Raab is 6-2. But now, they are also rivals after making impressive debuts on the court as high school freshmen.