The phrase “Defense wins games,” will be put to test on Saturday at the DCU Center as each team tries to stop their opponents on offense. Here is an outlook on what’s to come.
Division 1 Central Catholic (18-5) vs. Holy Name (22-2) 5:45 p.m.
Central Catholic outlook: Tough games during the season prepare you for the tough road that you may encounter in the tournament. Raiders head coach, Susan Downer felt that her squad’s early season close defeats prepared them for their tight game against Braintree in the state semifinals.
On Monday, Central Catholic struggled greatly when Braintree applied defensive pressure down the stretch. However. The Raiders showed that strong starts are key in crucial games.
The Raiders have two important players, senior forward Casey McLaughlin and junior guard Courtney Walsh, who can produce offensively and come up big late in games.
Holy Name outlook: One thing that the Naps will be bringing on Saturday is size. Bria Frias, the 6-foot-2 junior has about two inches on any Central Catholic player. While, she didn’t produce offensively, in the state semifinals, her double figures in blocks and rebounding was key to the Naps defeat over Chicopee.
The Naps struggled offensively in their state semifinal game, but defense was the key reason to their victory. Holy Name’s head coach Barry Finneran emphasizes the importance of defense. The Naps defense proves that defense can win games even if they are struggling offensively.
Division 2 Medfield (25-2) vs Nashoba (22-2) 2:15 P.M.
Medfield outlook: If there is one thing the can take away from these past two games, it’s that no lead is guaranteed and that free throws are not the easiest shots in the game during crunch time.
After Medfield opened a 23-8 lead over top-ranked Reading they allowed the Rockets to hang around and send the game into overtime after Lauren Petit missed a free throw that would solidify a victory for her squad.
While, Petit did redeem herself in overtime, Medfield should be well aware that this situation may come again. The Warriors has relied heavily on free throw shooting and their half court zone defense to win games. Majority of their offense has come from the charity stripe in the past few games as they attempted 84 free throw attempts combined in the south sectionals and EMass championships.
Nashoba: The Chieftains enter this game with a lot of momentum after their blowout victory in the state semifinals.
The Chieftains scored most of their points on transition and second chance opportunities, so Medfield senior center Jen Narlee and sophomore forward Payton Ouimette will have their hands full on Saturday in the paint, while Medfield’s backcourt must get back on defense, to stop Nashoba’s guard from getting out on the break.
Division 3 Archbishop Williams (22-5) vs Lee (20-5) 10:45 A.M.
Archbishop Williams outlook: Now, that the Archies have finally gotten over the hump, they know that there is one final goal. A victory at the DCU Center on Saturday will solidify that they are the best Division 3 team in the state.
The Archies may be young, but they play like an experienced team. On Monday, Jim Bancroft told his team that he wouldn’t bail them out with a timeout if they started to slip. His confidence in his team’s ability to regroup shows that his team is equipped from Saturday’s match up.
Archbishop Williams’ big frontcourt will be important on Saturday, led by sophomore forward Alana Gilmer, who is an important piece for the Archies. Her ability to rebound, defend and attack the basket makes Archbishop Williams a dangerous team.
In the second half, Archbishop Williams seems to pull away late when they kick their defense into high gear. In a game like this the Archies may have to play intense defense for four quarters in order to defeat Lee.
Lee outlook: While Alana Gilmer may be a versatile forward, Lee will walk into the DCU Center on Saturday with two forwards who are just as good. Forwards Stephanie Young and Eileen Dooley combined for 58 of Lee’s 69 points in the state semifinals. Not only are they aggressive inside, they can stretch the floor and hit the occasional three-pointer.
Lee’s frontcourt is also tough and they crash the glass to give their team second chance opportunities. This game is set up for a tough battle inside.
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 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 email@example.com.