Our MIAA basketball state semifinal picks

March, 10, 2014
Mar 10
9:52
AM ET
MONDAY

At TD Garden, Boston

D4 Girls: New Mission vs. Greater New Bedford, 2:15 p.m.
Brendan Hall: Fenway was cruising right along to a three-peat as Division 4 state champs until city rival New Mission threw a wrench in those plans. Momentum is on the side of Jazsala Laracuente, Deandra Humphries and company. Pick: New Mission
Chris Bradley: New Mission beating Boston City League rival Fenway in the D4 North championship game was as impressive as any win we've seen during this postseason. I'll take the Lady Titans in a double-digit victory.
Pick New Mission

D4 Boys: St. Clement vs. Bishop Connolly, 4 p.m.
Hall: Lots of athleticism here in Medford, and that's a very talented St. Mary's team the Anchormen knocked off to get here. Look for big nights from Emaru Pena and Khaneil Bruce. Pick: St. Clement
Bradley: Connolly has plenty of experience winning on the TD Garden floor, especially after last year's Division 4 championship-winning performance. St. Clement is athletic and talented, but look for Bishop Connolly to take this game in a close one.
Pick: Bishop Connolly

D1 Girls: Lynn English vs. Braintree, 5:45 p.m.
Hall: Braintree has thwarted terrific guard-oriented lineups throughout these playoffs, but they've yet to face a backcourt as talented as English's. Still, the Bulldogs are going to have to navigate a "Land of the Trees" going inside against the Wamps' superb (and vertically blessed) lineup. Pick: Braintree
Bradley: The Lady Bulldogs' undefeated run has been extremely impressive, but they run into a giant in Braintree in the Eastern Mass. final -- the Wamps haven't had anything less than double-digit victories since Jan. 24.
Pick: Braintree

D1 Boys: Central Catholic vs. Catholic Memorial, 7:30 p.m.
Hall: This could be the best matchup of the night. Hold CM in the 50's, and you win. By the way, that hasn't happened yet. Pick: Catholic Memorial, in OT
Bradley: Tyler Nelson and co. had quite a run through the loaded Division 1 North tournament, but CM's depth at guard will be the difference in this one. Look for the Knights to come out on top in what should be a very fast-paced game.
Pick: Catholic Memorial

***

TUESDAY, MARCH 11

At TD Garden, Boston

D3 Girls: St. Mary’s (Lynn) vs. Archbishop Williams, 2:15 p.m.
Hall: This is completely different Archies squad from the one I saw get squashed by Mater Dei (Calif.) back in January. Talent eventually rises to the top, and this was a preseason Top 5 selection in our state poll. Pick: Archbishop Williams
Bradley: It's only right that this game comes down to two Catholic Central Large archrivals. It's been an impressive season for St. Mary's, but look for Archbishop Williams to pull away down the stretch in this one -– the Bishops have been playing their best ball of the season in the playoffs.
Pick: Archbishop Williams

D3 Boys: Watertown vs. Cardinal Spellman, 4 p.m.
Hall: After Thursday's comeback against Martha's Vineyard, the Cardinals feel like a team of destiny. Pick: Cardinal Spellman
Bradley: Spellman will certainly be battle tested heading into Monday's showdown with Watertown after beating Wareham, Martha's Vineyard and Westport to take the D3 South title. Expect a big game from Spellman senior Ryan Roach.
Pick: Cardinal Spellman

D2 Girls: Arlington Catholic vs. Duxbury, 5:45 p.m.
Hall: The leap that 6-foot-4 junior center Molly Quilty has made over the last calendar year has paid dividends for Duxbury this season, and she's just scratching the surface. Just like in the D1 EMass Final, size will play a factor here. Pick: Duxbury
Bradley: Duxbury has to stand as the favorite in this one, especially considering their impressive 24-0 record. Look for the Patriot League and Division 2 South champs to punch their ticket to the DCU Center.
Pick: Duxbury

D2 Boys: New Mission vs. Milton, 7:30 p.m.
Hall: Lots of storylines to write about with this game, but the biggest story will be under the hoop, where Mission's Asante Sandiford and Bam Rivers are bulldozing their way into All-State contention. Pick: New Mission
Bradley: It will be a reunion of sorts when former Milton guard Juwan Gooding faces his former school in the D2 semifinal, but this year's Titans squad is one of coach Cory McCarthy's deepest in recent memory. New Mission forwards Bam Rivers and Asante Sandiford are likely to set the tone in this one.
Pick: New Mission

At MassMutual Center, Springfield

D4 Girls: Millis vs. Quaboag, 2:15 p.m.
Hall: For years, Quaboag was a juggernaut in D3 Central, annually reaching the state semifinal or final. The glory days are still here. Pick: Quaboag

D4 Boys: Hopedale vs. Quaboag, 4 p.m.
Hall: There is no stopping Quaboag's Jake Wisniewski this postseason. One of the hidden gems in Massachusetts. Pick: Quaboag

D1 Girls: Westford vs. Springfield Central, 5:45 p.m.
Hall: An excellent frontcourt battle here, with Westford's Sam Hyslip and Central's Kendra Hicks and Janae Bunn, but the Golden Eagles have the advantage. Pick: Springfield Central

D1 Boys: Putnam vs. St. John’s, 7:30 p.m.
Hall: Last time St. John's played at the MassMutual Center, two years ago, they nearly knocked off eventual state champ Springfield Central. This Putnam squad, holding the No. 1 spot in our statewide poll since the preseason, is more talented than those Golden Eagles. But as long as Bob Foley is on the St. John's sidelines, the Pioneers will make a game of this. Pick: Putnam

***

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12

At MassMutual Center, Springfield

D3 Girls: Bellingham vs. Hoosac Valley, 2:15 p.m.
Hall: Another good frontcourt battle here, give me the Blackhawks, who saw the benefits of playing a brutal Tri-Valley League schedule pay off in Central Mass. district play. Pick: Bellingham

D3 Boys: Tyngsborough vs. Sabis, 4 p.m.
Hall: Nelson Zayas has come alive these playoffs, proving doubters wrong. Look for the Bulldogs to continue their good momentum here.

D2 Girls: Nashoba vs. Longmeadow, 5:45 p.m.
Hall: Not that they're a Cinderella by any stretch, but it's hard to pick against the Nashoba Chieftains after scoring one of the weekend's biggest upsets, knocking off proverbial favorite and defending state champ Medfield. Pick: Nashoba

D2 Boys: Concord-Carlisle vs. Longmeadow, 7:30 p.m.
Hall: Longmeadow hasn't lost since Dec. 18, some 18 games ago. They aren't about to lose now. Pick: Longmeadow
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