By Mike Giesta, Globe Correspondent
The Massachusetts Youth Rugby Organization will host the 2013 boys' state finals Saturday at Fort Devens.
* Division 1A: Scituate vs. Needham, 12
* Division 2: Andover vs. Milton, 12
* Division 1: Bishop Hendricken, R.I. vs. Belmont, 1:30
Needham coach Diana Parkhurst is excited about her team’s rematch against defending champion Scituate.
“This is the first year we moved into varsity status here at the high school,” Parkhurst said. “But we’ve been a part of the tournament before.”
Her Rockets finished the season undefeated, and knocked off Scituate, 35-12, a week ago..
“We lost to Scituate last year in the finals,” said Parkhurst. “This is a big chance for redemption for us.”
Scituate coach Tucker Patterson, well aware of the recent history between the two squads, said “Needham is strong. But it’s rugby and anything can happen, we’re hoping to win.”
And beyond tomorrow, Patterson is excited for the future of the sport.
“It’s a growing sport in high school,” Patterson said. “Most schools are strictly club teams, and we are trying to get MIAA approved at some point down the road.”
In addition to the three state finals, a number of teams from across the state will be participating in jamboree at the site.
Scituate senior attackman Tucker Ciessau reached the 300-point mark for his career with a four-goal, three-assist performance in the Sailors' 22-3 win at Whitman-Hanson on Thursday night.
The All-American, who had 110 goals and 35 assists last season, has 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in two games this season for the Sailors (2-0).
Ciessau plans to play lacrosse for Division 1 Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky., next season.
After guiding the Scituate High girls’ basketball team to a 20-0 regular season and the program’s first Division 2 South title, Buckley has decided to step down as head coach after eight very rewarding seasons. He informed his players at the team’s breakup dinner Wednesday night.
“It’s so sad, our trip to the state semifinals, our first sectional championship, our first undefeated [regular] season, it was eight special years,” said Buckley, a longtime Quincy resident who has coached at the high school and college level for nearly four decades.
“But it’s nice to leave on top, with the success we had this season.” In January, he retired as the athletic director at Quincy College.
He departs Scituate with a 131-47 record (45-4 the last two seasons), four South Shore League titles, and 12 victories in the state tournament.
His last Sailor team (24-1 overall), led by senior forwards Shannon Brady and Megan Otto, along with junior point guard Kelly Martin, advanced to the state semifinals at TD Garden before falling to eventual state champion Reading, 71-64, in overtime. Even in defeat, Buckley proudly called it “the greatest game I ever been a part of.”
His own playing career ended at the old Garden, when his Archbishop Williams squad lost to a Catholic Memorial juggernaut featuring Fran Costello (Providence), Billy Raynor (Dartmouth) and freshman sixth man King Gaskins. “Kind of fitting,” he said, noting that both Reading and CM went undefeated.
He lauded the support the Sailors received from the "whole town" all season, noting the vocal crowd at the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, and also pointed out that with the return of three starters, including Martin, Scituate will contend again next season.
“I’ve never had a vacation longer than three days in the winter, now my wife and I can spend more time in Florida,” added Buckley, a head coach for 27 years, with stops at Quincy College, Curry College, BC High, Archbishop Williams (girls) and Scituate.
The No. 4 Sailors take on No. 2 Reading at the TD Garden on Tuesday.
Scituate (24-0) faltered in the first quarter, trailing 15-10 at the buzzer, but coach Brian Buckley knew they had it in them to make a comeback later in the game.
“I thought [Natick] dominated in the first quarter with their physical toughness inside,” Buckley said. “They got all the loose balls.”
Natick senior guard Lexi Gifford (28 points) took advantage of the scoring opportunities, shooting 3 for 4 from deep in the first quarter alone. She added another trey in the second quarter and finished with 20 points in the first half.
“Lexi was hot early and I think she lost her legs in the second half a little bit,” Buckley said. “That was kind of our gameplan, to wear her down. She played so well in the first half I said I don’t know if we’re going to be able to wear her down.”
The Red and Blue held onto a dominant lead in the second quarter, going up by 8 with 2:45 left until halftime (23-15), but Scituate went on a 7-2 run to tighten it up.
Coach Buckleyn made sure his team knew that they were going to have to play tough, fundamental basketball in the second half if they wanted to advance to the Div. 2 State semifinals.
“I said ‘If you want to win this, you’ve got to do what you’ve been doing all year, which is be aggressive’,” Buckley said. “I think they had their legs under them at that point and they really played up to their potential.”
The pep talk worked. Scituate came out and blazed a trail to the top, taking its first lead of the game just under a minute into the third quarter, 28-26 after Shannon Brady (14 points) and Megan Otto (14 points, five rebounds) hit back to back jumpers.
It was back and forth for the next two minutes, but Scituate went on a 11-0 run to end the quarter and had a 43-32 advantage going into the fourth. Natick went 3 for 11 in the third quarter, compared to 9 for 14 from the Sailors.
Defense, which coach Buckley believes won the game, was key in the fourth quarter. Neither team scored more than 10 points but Scituate outrebounded Natick 5-1 to clinch the win.
“The defense really won the game for us, although I thought our offense clicked in the second half a little bit better,” Buckley said. “The kids took pride in the defense.”
BRIDGEWATER -- Junior point guard Kelly Martin scored 17 points and senior center Shannon Brady netted 18 of her 22 points in the second half and overtime as the Scituate High girls' basketball team stormed back from a 14-point deficit late in the third quarter to defeat Braintree, 57-51, Monday night in the final of the Harry A. Lehmann tournament at Bridgewater State University.
“I’ve been involved in a lot of good wins,” said Scituate coach Brian Buckley after his team capped a 20-0 regular season.
“We didn’t handle the ball as well as we wanted to and we didn’t shoot as well as we wanted to, but in terms of guts, that was as good a comeback as we’ve ever had. My kids just showed they had great fortitude to hang in there against a very, very good team.”
Braintree(18-2), the Bay State Carey champ, controlled the game for most of the first half. After being down early, the Wamps went on a 15-2 run to end the first quarter to lead, 22-10. With 2:58 left in the half, the Wamps surged ahead, 29-14, on Rachel Norton’s third 3-pointer of the first half.
Even after a 6-0 run to finish the second quarter, the Sailors trailed, 29-20, heading into the break.
“We played some zone, which was my fault. We shouldn’t have been playing zone against that team,” said Buckley.
“I felt if their shots aren’t going down it’ll give us a breather because they have more depth than we do. Once our kids made a few shots and made a few stops they started to believe, and I told them to keep chipping away, chipping away, chipping away.”
The Sailors found their groove in the second half . After falling behind, 40-26, with 3:06 to go in the third, Scituate went on a 7-0 run, with senior guard Kate Lemire hitting a 3-pointer and Brady tossing in timely hook shots down low.
In the fourth, solid defense by Martin, Brady, and senior forward Megan Otto held Braintree to 6 total points. Meanwhile, Brady and Martin chipped away at the lead, combining for 9 of the 13 Sailor points in the final frame.
After Scituate went ahead, 44-43, with under five minutes to go the team traded buckets the last five minutes before moving to overtime tied at 48.
In OT, Brady scored 6 of Scituate's 9 points, including clutch free throws and hook shots down the stretch to secure the victory.
Martin, for her stellar play on both ends of the court, was named tourney MVP.
“We all deserved [the MVP award],” said Martin. “It was a great team effort. I’m not taking the credit and I’m not saying I did everything. It was just a whole team effort. If I could give it to the whole team I would.”
The Sailors will earn the first or second seed in the Division 2 bracket, which will be released on Friday. Medfield is also 20-0.
Norton led Braintree with 16 points, including four 3-pointers.
With their 58-26 road victory over Middleborough on Thursday night, the ninth-ranked Scituate girls’ basketball team finished their Patriot League schedule at an undefeated 13-0.
“Winning the league was very important to our team,” coach Brian Buckley said. “But we don’t even talk about the undefeated thing. We are very proud of the way our team has played.”
Both teams came out strong, and Middleborough, which hasn’t won a game this season, played the Sailors tough in the first half. The teams went to the break with Scituate up by six points, 24-16.
“Middleborough played a very good first half,” Buckley said. “We didn’t shoot well. In the second half we got our game together and executed.
“[At halftime] I told them to do what we do all year long and do that and we will be successful.
What the Sailors have done all year long, and continued in the second half tonight, is play a team-minded game.
Junior point guard Kelly Martin led the offense, dishing out 12 assists as Scituate took control of the game in the second half.
“She is totally unselfish. She had a lot of opportunities where she could have scored, but it’s her attitude that makes her such a good passer,” said Buckley.
Senior forward Megan Otto led the Sailors with 22 points and eight rebounds.
“Megan is really becoming more efficient, she is taking better shots,” Buckley said. “Her
inside game and midrange shooting is strong.”
Senior Shannon Brady contributed 16 points and 10 rebounds. Buckley said junior Annie Miller played one of her best games of the year, netting four points with a strong eight rebounds.
After finishing league play undefeated, Scituate heads to the Bridgewater Tournament, where they hope to close out their season with two more wins and a tournament championship.
“It has been a total team effort to get where we have so far,” Buckley said. “So many girls understand their roles and because of that we have been able to succeed.”
Following a week full of upsets and Top 20 matchups, this week’s Globe Top 20 is very different from last week’s list. After the top three teams (No. 1 Westwood, No. 2 Wellesley and No. 3 Framingham), only one squad (No. 6 Triton) stayed put and the Top 20 plays host to five new teams.
Lincoln-Sudbury is one of those new teams as the Warriors jump from unranked to No. 11. After handing Acton-Boxboro its only loss of the season April 29, the 9-2 Warriors made the leap by blowing out Arlington at home and Wayland on the road this week. Lincoln-Sudbury can prove they belong with a strong performance against Westwood Monday afternoon.
Needham also found itself in the Top 20 for the first time this season following a 3-0 week that included a victory over a tough Braintree team. The Rockets four losses this season were to the top three teams and No. 9 Acton-Boxboro, giving them big-game experience that will serve them well come playoff time.
Scituate, Danvers and Notre Dame of Hingham are the final three teams that entered into this week’s Top 20 rankings. No. 15 Scituate downed three teams with winning records this week, No. 16 Danvers snuck in based on their season-long body of work and Notre Dame of Hingham earned a No. 19 ranking after going 1-1-1 against teams with a combined 27-7 record.
Adam Hunger / For the Globe
Scituate golfer Mary Mulcahy won the MIAA Girls' Individual Tournament yesterday. Photos of her and other participants can be found here by Adam Hunger.
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- Colleen Casey | @ColleenCasey226 | Softball
- Mike Giesta | Boys lacrosse
- Catherine Calsolaro | @catrenee13 | Girls lacrosse
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Boys volleyball
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