Tri-County’s girls’ basketball team is becoming this season’s comeback kids. Not only are the Cougars improving upon a 1-19 campaign last season, their year has been filled with many come-from-behind stories. Whether it was being down by 14 against Diman, trailing by eight against Bristol Plymouth, or winning on a buzzer beater against Sacred Heart, the Cougars (11-5) continue to battle back and fight for their season.
Motivated by their previous tough, disappointing seasons, the Tri-County’s girls’ basketball team entered this season with one goal in mind: win 10 games.
“The girls who were there last year obviously didn’t have a good season and didn’t enjoy it, so coming in this year they wanted to succeed,’’ first year head coach Ryan Hippert said. “I think that the freshmen, who weren’t around last year have set up those upper-classmen and myself that they don’t want to experience a losing season like that last year.’’
After only winning 1 game last season, the Cougars recorded their 10th win over South Shore Voc-Tech on Feb. 1 to qualify for the state tournament for the first time in five years.
“It was fun for me because I have played sports, and to see the excitement on their faces was neat for me,’’ Hippert said.
Led by junior Megan Mulcahy, the Cougars are a young team from top to bottom, including coach Hippert, who is a big part of this team’s big season turnaround. The 24-year old Bridgewater State graduate has instilled the importance of defense into his team.
“We don’t have a lot of size, so our big thing has always been to play good defense and rebound. … As long as we rebound and play good D, it will translate,’’ Hippert said.
The Cougars will end their season against some tough teams, including undefeated Blue Hills, but Hippet believes that will help his team prepare for the road ahead.
“Win or lose, I want to play better than the first time,’’ Hippert said. “Going into states, we’re going to play teams like [Blue Hills], so I want to be able to compete and play good basketball.’’
Comcast tournament returns
In its 22nd year, the IAABO Board 27 Comcast Classic could be one of the best ever with a who’s who of top basketball teams. The tournament begins on Sunday, Feb. 17 at Babson College and concludes with the title games Monday. The girls field features Reading, Billerica, Archbishop Williams, and Natick. The boys’ field features Danvers, BC High, Brighton, and Newton North. Sunday’s schedule starts at 1 p.m. The girls’ title game is at 2:30 p.m. Monday with the boys game slated for 6:30 p.m.
Thanks to Nemo and all the chaos it wrought outside, we weren’t able to see the Archbishop-St.Mary’s rematch that was highlighted in our previous game of the week. But both teams did play a part in Arlington Catholic’s slide this week. After back-to-back Catholic Central losses, the Cougars drop to No. 20 in the Globe girls’ basketball poll.
Franklin’s stunning six-point loss to Sharon on Tuesday drops the Panthers two spots to No. 8. The loss allows Oliver Ames, the only undefeated team on the poll oustide of top-ranked Reading to take over the No.6 spot.
Now, I already prepared you guys for another Newton North jump this week. The No. 10 Tigers, who are winners of 16 straight, make their debut in the top 10 for the first time this season.
With the Comcast Tournament coming up on Sunday, things may get interesting, and we might see some shifting at the top of the poll next week.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:
Taunton, Angie Martinez — Martinez delivered 29 points and 19 rebounds in a two-point victory over Coyle and Cassidy on Monday.
Newton North, Infiniti Thomas-Waheed — The junior guard posted 20 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 steals last Tuesday. She followed up her performance with 19 points and 11 rebounds on Thursday.
Fenway, Tajanay Viega-Lee — The senior nearly notched a triple-double with 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 assist last Tuesday.
Cathedral, Jade Moore– The sophomore guard led the Panthers to a 46-40 victory over Lowell Catholic with 28 points and 12 rebounds last Tuesday.
Boston Latin, Maggie Mulligan — The junior center recorded her 10th double-double of the season lastTuesday with 21 points and 14 rebounds.
Sharon, Carlie O’Driscoll — The junior forward helped the Eagles qualify for the state tournament thanks to her 25-point performance over No.8 Franklin last Tuesday.
Reading, Olivia Healy — The senior guard/forward notched another triple-double with 40 points, 13 rebounds and 10 steals.
Lynn English, Diondra Woumn — The junior guard’s 32 points and 10 rebounds helped the Bulldogs overcome Salem in a 70-65 overtime thriller last Tuesday.
Scituate, Kelly Martin — Martin packed the stat sheet with 26 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists last Tuesday.
Quincy, Nicole Jorgenson — The freshman posted 24 points, 24 rebounds, and 7 blocks against Silver Lake last Tuesday.
Medfield, Lauren Petit — Medfield secures its fifth Tri-Valley League title behind Petit’s strong performance this week. The junior point guard combined for 36 points in wins against Holliston and Westwood.
GAMES OF THE WEEK:
No.2 Archbishop Williams vs No.4 Billerica, 1 p.m., Sun. — The Archie’s, who are undefeated in Massachussets, will take on Billerica in a nonleague battle at Babson College. This will be a good one. Both teams have been on a roll as of late. While we know that Archie’s main focus will have to be stopping Billerica’s guard Brittany Lomanno, we can’t underestimate the job both teams will have to do in the paint. Both teams have size, so rebounding will be key. The interesting matchup will be Billerica’s Joslyn King along with teammate Danielle Nickerson against the Archie’s junior center Olivia Conrad, Jaylen William, and Alana Gilmer.
No.16 Andover at No.4 Billerica, 7 p.m., Tues. — Andover will try to avenge their Jan.29th loss to the Indians. In their first matchup, the Golden Warriors started off hot and pulled to an early lead, but once Billerica figured out how to break the press, they rallied and took control of the game. Andover will have to be active on the boards in this game. Billerica’s Danielle Nickerson got a lot of second chance opportunities and easy looks, so Andover must put a body on her.