“I’m proud of the kids. They’re great,” Reading coach Kim Penney said. “I think they are so pumped up right now. They are so locked in on everything we are doing, they are just great kids and they really earned their right to be here.”
Reading (23-0) went on a 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter, giving them a 10-point lead. But the 21-3 Cougars battled back to within three points after senior guard Emma Roberson (27 points) netted a 3-pointer with 11.6 seconds remaining.
“Emma Roberson though, what a player," Penney said. "She hit that three at the end and kept them in it.”
Both teams came out slow with unforced turnovers abundant on both ends of the floor. The game was tied 2-2 through the first five minutes of action before either team got an offensive rhythm going. The game was tied 7-7 at the end of the first quarter.
Reading began to pull away in the second with a balanced offensive attack. Five different Rockets scored in the quarter with junior forward Meghan Stanford leading the way with four points in the frame. She saw extended playing time with senior forward Melissa DelPozzo on the bench with two early fouls.
“We rebounded well, DelPozzo was all over the place. They did a great job defending (Healy and DelPozzo), but we knew that,” Penney said. “Meghan Stanford coming in the first half was huge, she was awesome.”
With a trip to the state semifinals on the line, both teams played with emotion and aggression, leading to a whistle heavy game. The Rockets took a 21-16 lead into the half.
Arlington Catholic chipped away at Reading’s lead throughout the third quarter. Roberson was on fire offensively, netting eight points in the third and another 13 in the fourth. The Cougars sliced the Rockets’ lead to three points, 32-29 after three quarters of action.
But it was the Reading’s balanced offensive attack that put them in the drivers seat to TD Garden where they’ll face the winner of Saturday night’s game between Scituate and Natick on Tuesday.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Emily McCarthy | @EmilyMcCahthy | BPS correspondent
- Jake Fischer | @GlobeFischer | Boys basketball
- Michelle Fenelon | @michfenelon | Girls basketball
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Boys hockey
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls hockey
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail email@example.com.