No one believes in the No. 16 seed. Not even in high school basketball.
So as the Hull Pirates stormed the Division 4 South section tournament, burying the No. 1, 8 and 4 seeds, it seemed only right to call them Cinderellas.
Monday, at the TD Garden, the Hull girls basketball team put on their glass slippers and beat back New Mission for a 59-55 win for the Division 4 EMass title.
The Pirates’ Amy MacDonald got a key steal and basket then iced two free throws to help Hull clinch the win down the stretch after a furious comeback attempt by the Titans.
“We had to put the game away because they kept hitting threes and they were only down by two,” said MacDonald, who scored all of her eight points in the fourth quarter. “And we knew that they could hit shots to stay in the game.”
With 49 seconds left, New Mission’s Tianna Johnson (18 points, 10 rebounds) hit a 3-pointer to pull the Titans within a point. But Hull’s Lauren Geary (12 points, nine rebounds) drew a foul and knocked down a pair of free throws to push the Pirates’ lead back to three. On the inbound, MacDonald managed to harass New Mission guard Jazuela Larguente’ enough to mishandle the ball coming up the court, grabbing the steal and getting an easy bucket.
“They’re great dribblers and I was waiting all game to get a steal and it just didn’t happen,” MacDonald said. “I guess that was just a perfect time to get one.”
New Mission (18-6) didn’t give up.
Larguente’ (23 points) came right back and drilled a three for New Mission with 20 seconds left in the game. The Titans fouled MacDonald on the next possession and she drilled her final two free throws, going a perfect 4 for 4 on the game at the charity stripe, to clinch the win.
“Obviously when 19 seconds or 30 seconds came around, and they were hitting those 3-point shots every time, I was like oh, whoa,” said Nicole Heavern, who powered Hull through the first half and finished with 27 points and 10 rebounds. “But, it worked out in the end and we hit our free throws and it was awesome."
Final: Hull 59, New Mission 55 — Hull's Amy MacDonald iced her free throws and Hull beat New Mission for the Division 4 EMass final at TD Garden.
End of the third quarter: Hull 40, New Mission 31 — Hull's Lauren Geary has started to clean up on the offensive glass. She has eight boards in the game and has chipped in a quiet seven points. Nicole Heavern leads all scorers with 23 for Hull. She also has nine rebounds.
End of the second quarter: Hull 26, New Mission 26 — New Mission's Jazuela Larguente' nailed a 3-pointer with 10 seconds remaining in the half to tie the game. But it was teammate Tianna Johnson that kept New Mission in the running. Johnson chipped in another four points in the quarter (8 overall) and is having a heckuva game. She's got five steals and six rebounds. Meanwhile, Hull's Nicole Heavern is having a great game of her own. She's tallied 14 points so far and seven rebounds. New Mission outscored Hull 15-12 in the quarter.
End of the first quarter: Hull 14, New Mission 11 — Hull's Nicole Heavern scored 12 of her team's 14 points to lead the Pirates. New Mission started off struggling, finishing the quarter with 10 turnovers, but steadied themselves toward the end of the quarter. New Mission is already in foul trouble after getting whistled seven times in the quarter.
We're about to tip off here at the Garden in the girls Division 4 Eastern Mass final between Hull (15-10) and New Mission (18-5). Stay here for quarterly updates. Follow along on Twitter for the latest updates @GlobeSchools.
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our fall correspondents:
- Anthony Gulizia | @gulizia_a | Div. 1 football
- Eric Russo | @erusso22 | Div. 2 football
- Stephen Sellner | @stephen_sellner | Div. 3 football
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Div. 4 football
- Greg Joyce | @GJoyce9 | Div. 5 football
- Lorenzo Recupero | @LorenzoRecupero | Div. 6 football
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls volleyball
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.