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Saturday, March 12, 2011
Coyle rallies to capture D3 South title

By Brendan Hall

BOSTON -- Missy Perry took a kick-out pass from her Coyle-Cassidy teammate Andreya Desousa, knocked down a three-pointer from the left wing and uppercut the air with both fists as the student section behind her erupted.

Then her Archbishop Williams defender threw away the ensuing inbounds pass, and Coyle's Tricia Quinn nailed a long two from the top of the key off a dish from Brenna Gonsalves. Two possessions later, Perry took a long outlet pass off DeSousa's board, stopped and pivoted underneath the rim and dished across the lane to Gonsalves for a 65-60 lead.

A few flicks of the wrist, and the momentum in this Division 3 South girls final at UMass-Boston's Clark Athletic Center capsized in a snap. The Warriors trailed Archie's 49-40 headed into the final frame, but with 14 points from the Adelphi-bound Gonsalves and eight big boards from Quinn, they rallied furiously to win going away, 70-63.

"I looked up, and all of a sudden it was a two-point game (trailing 60-58), you don't realize it because you're such in the flow of the game," smiled Coyle head coach Mike O'Brien. "That's just a lot of credit to them. They work hard. What we did, the little things we've talked about all year long -- making free throws, rebounding, boxing out -- the really simple stuff really played out for us. And we had a couple big shots, of course."

Indeed, this was about all the little things adding up. Sure, Gonsalves (32 points, six rebounds, three assists) was her usual all-everything self for the Warriors, going 5-for-7 from the field and 4 of 6 from the line in the final frame to lead the comeback -- "She's tough to stop," said Bishops head coach Jim Bancroft. But early on, they struggled with the brute strength of Archie's post players, particularly Alex Dean, Kayla Papazian, and 6-foot-1 freshman Olivia Conrad.

Combating the stout lower-body strength of the Bishops' forwards forced an economy of motion out of the 6-foot Quinn, a mentality that ultimately paid off in the final frame with eight boards. She finished with 14 rebounds to go along with 14 points.

"I really just focusing on paying attention to where my feet were on the floor, and making sure I was inside of them," Quinn said.

Gonsalves couldn't be happier for her teammates' mettle in the waning minutes.

"It was a matter of going out there and playing with heart, and just playing as hard as we possibly could," Gonsalves said. "I think everyone stepped up, so that's what got us the win. Everyone played with heart, everyone played their role perfectly."

The Warriors led by as much as 12 before the Bishops finished out the half on a 12-3 run to trail, 34-30. They continued the momentum in the third quarter, opening with a 12-0 run, to lead 49-40 headed into the final frame.

But the good fortune turned costly late in the third quarter, when Papazian drew blood from the top of her head after taking a foul off the rebound. The senior captain was relegated to the bench the rest of the game, barking out words of encouragement to her teammates.

"It was big for us," Bancroft said of losing Papazian who had eight boards. "She's our leader on the court, leader off the court, and she gives the kids encouragement. She gives them focus. She communicates. So that hurt us a lot."

Sophomore Sara Ryan led the Bishops with 18 points, while Conrad added 12.