It was a senior night that will live forever in Norwell girls' basketball history.
Six minutes into the second quarter, senior center Brenna Diggins grabbed her 1,000th career rebound as the Clippers went on to defeat Mashpee, 54-14, and move to 16-4 on the season.
She hit 1,000 career points as a junior - currently sitting at 1,359 - for the first player in school history to be a double member of the 1,000-stat club.
"For our program it solidifies what the entire program stands for - playing every possession and not taking anything for granted," coach Matt Marani said.
Diggins, playing gingerly on a sore knee, entered seven rebounds from the historic mark and finished exactly there, coming out two minutes later and sitting for the rest of the game. She had 11 points.
Marani said he run plays for her to do her thing - ideally finding a one-on-one situation to let her drop-step, but really he expects everything and anything from her.
"It starts in the paint with Brenna, and her teammates step up as we play," he said. "She drives her team, and it's been that way for four years."
Diggins only has two regular-season games left in a Clippers uniform.
"I hope someday I'll another have a player like her, but it's very doubtful ," Marani said.
The final 2 of Brenna Diggins's career-high 31 points proved to be the difference as the junior scored a layup as time expired to propel No. 16 Norwell (7-1) over 18th-ranked Harwich, 63-62, Tuesday.
Clipper coach Matt Marani described the 31-point, 13-rebound performance by Diggins the best game of her three-year varsity career.
“Every time we got her the ball she finished,” said Marani. “She played a complete game.”
Although the monster game by Diggins helped set the pace for Norwell, it was a little play by senior captain Darci Vierra that got them the win.
With the Clippers trailing by 1 with five seconds remaining and inbounding the ball under their own basket, Marani called for a play that would throw the ball to the other end of the court. When the pass was overthrown it looked like it would go out of bounds but Vierra hustled down the court, saved the ball from going out and found Diggins, who was trailing the play, for the winning basket.
“Darci beat everyone down the court and for her to get her hand on the ball was outstanding,” said Marani.
The Rough Riders played Norwell tough all game and scored 62 points against a Clipper defense that had not allowed more than 38 points before this contest.
Jen Gonsalves led Harwich with 21 points including a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left to tie the game and a go-ahead trey with five seconds remaining.
“Everyone knew she was taking that shot at the end of the game,” said Marani. “We double teamed her and she still made the shot over a 6-footer.”
Even with Gonsalves’s clutch threes, the Clippers came away victorious thanks to Diggins, Vierra, and senior Ryanne Williams who added 14 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists for the victors.
“This win gives us life,” said Marani. “It is a reminder to give effort going into a tough game with Abington on Friday.”
Despite winning the Division 4 state championship last year after going 19-6, Cohasset boys' baseball coach Pete Afanasiw knows his squad isn’t likely to sneak up on many opponents in the South Shore league this season.
On Monday, his players turned a few heads as the Skippers rallied from a two-run deficit in the decisive seventh inning to defeat Norwell, 5-4.
The game initially did not feature much action, as both teams sized each other up.
“It was pretty uneventful through the first three innings,” Afanasiw said.
The Clippers (2-1) got on the board in the third, thanks in part to three singles. The gap widened by the fourth, and though Cohasset managed to come back, Norwell scored another two runs off of senior pitcher Drew Cobin.
Meanwhile, Norwell pitcher Jordan Jenkins was enjoying a sterling outing.
“Hopefully you get to the point where you’ve gone through the batting order twice, and by the third time, your players have seen the same pitcher,” Afanasiw said. “By then he’s a little fatigued and the batters are familiar with his style.”
By the bottom of the seventh, Cohasset was familiar with Jenkins’s repertoire, and the Clippers pounced. Leadoff hitter Shane Haggerty started the rally with a triple, and then senior shortstop Andrew Goetz drove in Haggerty with a triple of his own.
Haggerty, a sophomore, started all 25 games for Cohasset last year, and his presence at the top of order gave them the boost they needed to get going.
“He’s basically our sparkplug,” Afanasiw said. “He's got excellent speed; with him we'll get guys in scoring position and it just clicks.”
Third baseman Jeff Cavanaro singled home Goetz, and Cavanaro then stole second after Jamie Faber stepped up to the plate. Faber ultimately singled to left field, and Cavanaro was held at third on the throw.
With no outs, Afanasiw patiently decided to let his lineup dictate how the game would play out.
"[Cavanaro] has exceptional speed, and we still would have had two batters at least to play with,” Afanasiw said. “I wasn't looking to win the game on that play. I'd rather be safe than sorry."
The coach’s restraint paid off, as Jamie Timothy drove home Cavanaro with a single up the middle that eluded Jenkins to complete the rally.
Although Afanasiw was pleased with his offense, he stressed that credit be given to Cobin, who pitched his second complete game of the year, the first being the Skippers’ home opener against Scituate (a 3-1 loss). Cobin struck out eight Clippers on 115 pitches.
“He battled inning after inning and kept us in the situation where our bats finally caught fire,” Afanasiw said.
Coyle & Cassidy girls’ basketball senior Brenna Gonsalves has done just about everything coach Michael O’Brien has asked during her varsity career.
Gonsalves became the leading scorer in school history earlier this year, currently hovering around the 1,560-point mark, led the Warriors to a 18-2 regular season record, and most recently, made big plays when the season was on the line.
With her team up by one with just seconds remaining in the Division 3 South semifinals against Norwell Monday night, Gonsalves swatted a potential game-winning shot out of bounds. Moments later, a Norwell ball-carrier put up a last-second jumper that was again blocked by the Warriors’ scoring machine, and Coyle & Cassidy advanced to the tournament title game.
“She has carried us all year,” O’Brien said of Gonsalves, who ended the game with 7 points and 7 rebounds. “She got hurt in the first half, had her ankle taped up, came back in and played great.”
The Warriors have also benefited from two freshmen playing better than expected. Linsay Bumila is a 6-foot player with strong inside presence and Steph Skiba can knock shots down from beyond the arc.
“We’ve gotten some nice help from the younger kids,” said O’Brien.
Coyle & Cassidy will face Archbishop Williams for the championship on Saturday at UMass Boston. Archies has knocked O’Brien’s squad out of the postseason in three of the last four years.
“It’s kind of a friendly rivalry for the most part but we’re looking forward to it,” the coach said. “It’s going to be a great game.”
Long-time girls South Shore League soccer rivals East Bridgewater and No. 15 Norwell clashed Thursday as East Bridgewater edged its host, 3-2.
Senior Kelsey Purcell scored her 12th and 13th goals of the season off a corner kick and a 40-yarder assisted by junior Rachel Blauner for the Vikings. With 12 minutes remaining, Blauner added her 21st goal of the season in the win.
“I was very proud of the way the girls are playing offensively when playing such a tough team,” said coach Pam Ross.
Both the Vikings (7-2) and the Clippers (5-3-1) are battling for the South Shore League title. The Vikings lead the league with a 7-1 record.
“Our goal is to win the league this year and I think this win gave us momentum,” said Ross.
Cohasset’s brutal defense and patient attack proved to be the difference against Norwell as the Skippers were able to reclaim the Division 3 state title at Harvard Stadium on Wednesday night with a 10-8 win.
Norwell (15-6) was rarely able to set up anything at the attacking end, while Cohasset’s (20-2) smooth ball movement, let by senior Will Rise (two goals, two assists) and junior All-American Thomas Flibotte (three goals), was too much for its South Shore League rivals to handle.
Cohasset has now won three of the last five D3 state titles, the most recent victory coming in 2007.
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