BROCKTON, Mass. -– A look at the rosters showed that No. 2 Medfield held a distinct height advantage over No. 6 Scituate when they squared off at Massasoit Community College in a Div. 2 South Sectional semifinals showdown on Wednesday night.
In fact, the Warriors' five tallest players each had at least one inch on the tallest player suiting up for the Sailors.
Sophomore Payton Ouimette made sure that advantage was put to good use on both ends of the floor as she led the Warriors to an impressive win, 57-41, sending Medfield to Saturday’s Sectional title game against No. 4 Duxbury at UMass-Boston at 2 p.m.
The 5-foot-10 Ouimette poured in a game-high 17 points while pulling down a whopping 16 rebounds to pace Medfield’s attack.
“It might be a mistake [for teams to not focus on Payton],” said Medfield coach Mark Nickerson. “She’s a beast. You saw that today. She’s a real gamer. She’s come up big for us when we’ve needed her and we really needed her to today. We would’ve been in a lot of trouble offensively if we didn’t have her today.”
Ouimette had plenty of company on the glass as Medfield out-rebounded Scituate 41-21 in the win.
20 of those 21 boards came on the offensive end, giving the Warriors plenty of extra chances to score. They also forced Scituate’s defense into pressured situations, resulting in 32 trips to the free throw line for Medfield.
“It would’ve been nice to finish those possessions a little bit earlier,” said Nickerson. We talked about having the size advantage and trying to work the ball into the paint. They made it difficult for us by putting pressure on our guards. We struggled to get it in there, but once we did they worked real hard to finish or get to the line.”
The Warriors connected on 23 of the free throws, led by Lauren Petit’s 11-for-14 performance from the charity stripe. Petit finished with 16 points in all, added five rebounds as well.
Medfield also got strong showings from Jen Narlee (10 points) and Kristin Fechtelkotter (seven points, seven rebounds, two blocks).
Perhaps equally as important to Medfield’s success in knocking off the defending sectional champ was their defensive work against Stonehill commit Kelly Martin.
The 5-foot-8 guard had to fight for everyone of her points -– and she wound up with 15 of them. She connected on just two field goals, scoring the rest of her points by getting the foul line.
“Kelly Martin was a handful for us,” said Nickerson. “We tried chasing her, we tried trapping them, we tried a little bit of a man-to-man, it was just tough stopping her off the dribble. We tried to keep her out of the paint, we chased her –- we had three or four different players chasing her around trying to keep the ball out of her hands as much as possible. We know she’s a great shooter, but she’s probably even better off the dribble.”
She also added seven rebounds, three blocks and four assists in the final game of her high school career.
Sarah Hoffman helped keep Scituate (19-4) in the game, scoring 14 points and grabbing four rebounds in the final game of a season that surprised many people as they won the Patriot League Fisher Division before another impressive tourney run.
“Those seniors carried the team all year,” said Scituate coach Matt Lewis. “I think that we proved a lot of people wrong. A lot of people thought, because of the players we graduated last year, that this would be something of a rebuilding year. I think they really proved their critics wrong and got us back to this point.”