WORCESTER -- Olivia Healy netted 16 points as Reading finished its season undefeated and claimed the school's first state championship with a 48-27 victory over Tyngsborough in the Division 2 final at the DCU Center in Worcester on Saturday.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Reading coach Kim Penney said. “It’s an emotional rollercoaster and it hasn’t set in yet. But very very happy.”
“It’s weird knowing it’s over, but we played until the very last day and that was our goal,” Healy said. “It means everything. We’re a family and to know that we got this far together, it’s unbelievable.”
Reading went on a 13-0 run in the third quarter to open up a 20-point lead and never looked back
“That was so important. We knew they were a great three-point shooting team so we couldn’t only be up by a few points, you have to convert,” Penney said. “When you get a steal you have to convert and we weren’t really doing that in the first half.”
The game started slow with turnovers and missed layups aplenty for both teams. Tyngsborough opened the scoring with a layup from junior guard Amanda Hogan (7 points). Reading didn’t get its first point until the 5:51 mark of the first when Healy made one of two free throws. Reading took the lead on a Melissa DalPozzo (13 points) basket from underneath. The Rockets led 10-9 after eight minutes of action.
“We were a little nervous in the beginning, we needed to get a feel for the game,” DalPozzo said. “They came up with a good defense that we had to adjust to, but once we kind of got into our groove we just took it and ran.”
The Rockets stepped up their offense in the second frame, netting 11 points, led by four from DalPozzo. The Tigers racked up the fouls early, but Reading shot just 2 of 6 from the line in the opening half. But with the strength of DalPozzo and Healy in the frontcourt, Reading controlled the boards, allowing them to get second-chance points and limit the Tigers’ offensive opportunities.
“Our aggressive rebounding over the course of the entire season has really benefited us in big games and big times,” Penney said.
Tyngsborough was held to just one basket in the second, a three-pointer off the fingertips of senior forward Helena Hamilton (12 points) midway through the period. The Rockets took a nine-point lead, 21-12 into the half.
“We’ve come out really slow for the past couple of games and we were like ‘let’s go in and get it done’ and that relentlessness built us up for the second half,” Healy said.
The Tigers recorded the first basket of the second half with a jumper from junior forward Lauren Iadarola. The Rockets then went on a 13-0 run that lasted seven minutes. Tyngsborough’s Hogan netted a three from the baseline to end that run with thirty-second left in the third. The Rocket’s held a 37-17 lead after three.
Tyngsborough had their best offensive quarter in the fourth, netting ten points. But Reading’s 20-point advantage was too much to overcome and the Rockets went on to win.
“This is the best feeling ever,” DalPozzo said. “This was it, this was the big thing and we did it.”
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.