Even after a stunning 60-8 win on Wendesday, the coach of the Braintree High girls basketball team says her players are still trying to prove themselves.
The blowout victory against Whitman-Hanson brought Braintree to the quarterfinals of the South Division 1 tournament, where they play North Attleboro at 7 p.m. Friday at Braintree High.
Wednesday's eye-popping margin was part chance and part skill, Wamps coach Kristen McDonnell said in a phone interview Friday.
“I think it was one of those things, we couldn’t miss … and they were having an off night…and one thing kind of led to another.'' she said.
"Our team played well defensively. Even kids that came off the bench - that was a consistent effort. Even when we went to zone, Whitman-Hanson had a day that they just couldn’t hit shots. The score isn’t that indicative of how the game was,” McDonnell said.
Whitman-Hanson coach James Daley could not be reached for comment on the game.
The team's energy and fight came in the wake of a second-half meltdown against Division 2 Scituate High School at the end of the regular season, when the Wamps blew a 14-point lead in the last four minutes of the third quarter.
The 57-51 loss was hard to swallow for Braintree, which ended the season with an 18-2 record.
On Wednesday, the girls, seeded second in the bracket, had something to prove.
“We were trying to say we learned what we did, and send a message. A big thing with the tournament is we’re trying to focus on the defensive end. When shots fall that’s a bonus for us, but if we can keep teams at low numbers, we have a chance to play with anyone,” McDonnell said.
The make-up of the team overall is young, with two seniors (one a league MVP), five juniors, two sophomores, and three freshman starters.
The mix is good for the team, McDonnell said. Older players bring skills and composure to the game, whereas the younger girls have brought a lot of energy and raw talent.
Captain and Bay State Conference MVP Paige Marshall has helped power the offense. Captain Annie Kate Joyce has helped defensively, and sophomores Jen Whyte, Jenn Guen, and juniors Alyssa Klozbeecher, Kelsey Dillion, and Katie Casey have helped the team score games and get to where they are now.
“Their basketball IQ is off the charts. They understand the reads and they have instincts. Now it’s just tweaking from playing against older kids who are more physical. But they are coming in equipped with some serious weapons in terms of their basketball skills,” McDonnell said.
They'll be facing an opponent with some significant skills of their own.
The older North Attleboro team – five seniors, five juniors, two sophomores, and two freshman who have been brough up for the tournament – has some deep skill within their bench, with an excellent point guard in Jill Cullen, a strong forward in Meg Ronagan, and tough defense from Kate Cummer.
The 10th seeded Rockets beat 7th seeded Marshield 58-46 to reach the quarterfinals.
“We run good offense, we’ve been getting the ball inside, scoring when we have to, and we can play a couple different styles,'' said North Attleboro coach John Del Boris. "We’re athletic, we can run, but we can slow down. That’s why we’ve been successful; we can play to different styles.”
Del Bonis said his team hasn’t played Braintree since they used to run scrimmages back in the day; however, after watching the recent game against Scituate, they know what they’re up against.
“We’re confident but we know they are an excellent team, so we will have to be on our game,” he said.
To view the other brackets in the division, click here.