BOSTON –- For a moment, Coyle-Cassidy appeared ready to extend the MIAA Division 3 State semi-finals with St. Mary’s of Lynn to overtime, but Warriors senior guard Brenna Gonsalves’s half court shot with three seconds left sailed away from the rim and allowed the Spartans to walk off the TD Garden parquet with a 53-50 victory.
“I think Coyle-Cassidy is an excellent team and Brenna [Gonsalves] is a tremendous player, but in that fourth quarter again, it looked like we had them and we can’t break press, which we’ve done all year, but we had just enough to get [the win],” said St. Mary’s head coach Jeff Newhall.
“The kids fought [until] the end. We didn’t shoot that well today,” said Coyle head coach Mike O’Brien. “We can’t say anything about the heart about these kids. They were down by nine came back and we were probably about 10-seconds short.”
The Spartans scored early and often once the game began with an 8-0 run. Although, the Warriors would respond from their slow start, as Gonsalves led Coyle with nine points while junior guard Missy Perry who added four points during the second quarter. Yet, the slow start kept allowing St. Mary’s to build the lead and score easy baskets in the paint.
St. Mary’s kept adding points during the second quarter, but watched their largest lead of the period, 19-12 turn into 22-19 lead at halftime. The Warriors also did a tremendous job at defending Gonsalves and provided a great deal of pressure to their offense.
“We talked about, specifically Gonsalves, trying to give that one shot hopefully no shots. I thought Tori [Faieta] and Cassi [Amenta] were very effective on the boards and Ann Marie [Idusuyi] when she was in there thought played excellent as well,” said Newhall. “I thought for the most part, the idea was to try and slow Gonsalves down first and foremost”
“I think we just got going a little too late this time,” said Gonsalves.
Entering the third quarter, the Warriors took off with the lead, as they added an additional 15 points thanks to Amenta and freshman guard Jennie Mucciarone, who helped their team begin the second half by converting their first four field goals in a row.
Yet, the size of St. Mary’s continued to force Coyle to literally only one shot on their various offensive series.
“I think it bothered us a little bit,” said Gonsalves. “We’ve played teams this size like that and somehow we just didn’t adjust to well.”
Although, the Warriors eventually put together a late rally during the final few minutes of the fourth quarter that featured 13 points from Gonsalves and six points from Perry.
However, with time against them, Coyle & Cassidy started committing fouls and watched their state championship dreams slowly drift away, as St. Mary’s connected on [8-10] free throws during the fourth quarter and a majority of those points came on behalf of Amenta, who converted four points from the line.
“It’s a senior moment, but Cassi goes to the line [and goes] four for four at the Boston Garden with people streamlining and yelling and that’s how you get to this point,” said Newhall.
With the win, St. Mary’s will play their biggest game of the season at the DCU Center in Worcester on Saturday March 19.
“Everyone left it out on the court, everyone played with heart again,” said Gonsalves. “Its now how we wanted it to end, but we have a lot to be proud of this year, couldn’t ask for anything more.”