Boston High School: Audrey Knowlton

AC girls handle Gloucester to win D2 North

March, 13, 2011
3/13/11
12:09
AM ET
LOWELL, Mass. -- It was Gloucester’s potent offense against the stingy defense of Arlington Catholic that provided the storyline for this year’s Division 2 North girls basketball final last night.

Taking the court at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell, No. 5 Cougars had allowed 32.3 points per game during the tournament. Sixth-seeded Gloucester countered by entering the game with an average 60 points per game in its postseason run.

The Cougars came away with a 62-49 win, sending them to their second D-2 state semifinal appearance in three years. Arlington Catholic will take on the South sectional champion tomorrow at 6 p.m. at the TD Garden.

“It’s a young team and we had to learn a lot at the beginning of the year. The way they came out and put it all together was very nice to see,” Cougars head coach Dave Brady said. “We were adjusting to their offense and knew they were a powerful offense that could score and score fast so our goal was to contain their guards and be consistent with our shots.”

The Fishermen relied on sisters and 5-foot-7 guards Hannah and Heather Cain, a senior and junior respectively, who served as the anchor of the offensive attack. Meanwhile, the Cougars featured their own pair of sisters in 5-foot-9 senior center Rachel Buckley and 5-foot-10 freshman forward Maura Buckley.

“This is really kind of crazy because the beginning of the year no one really thought we were going to get deep into the postseason because we had a pretty young team,” the elder Buckley said. “We knew their guards were really good and we saw the way they shut down Reading and knew it was going to be a classic matchup of a really good offense against a really good defense.”

AC, which had outscored the opposition by 81 points in their previous three games, trailed the majority of the first quarter, quickly dropping into a 12-2 hole. The Cougars took a 17-16 lead off an Erin Klein layup to open the second quarter and never looked back, holding on to a 33-29 lead at the half and a 46-41 advantage after three quarters.

Junior Emma Roberson, a 5-foot-8 guard, led the Cougars with 20 points. Junior Nicole Catizone followed up with 16 points, while Maura Buckley added 15 points and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds. Leading the Fishermen were Hannah and Heather Cain, with 16 and 14 points respectively. Audrey Knowlton also added 14 points, while Katrina Munroe sank nine.

“The defense has been the cornerstone of our game all year and we knew it would have to be that way in the postseason as well,” Brady said. “This was one of the most challenging games of the tournament for us and they really stayed composed and level throughout.”

Gloucester shocks No. 1 Reading in D2 North

March, 11, 2011
3/11/11
1:49
AM ET
WOBURN, Mass. -- Even though it held a lead, things seemed uneasy for the Gloucester girls’ basketball team in the last two minutes of Thursday's Division 2 North semifinal with No. 1 seed Reading.

After holding a 56-48 lead with four minutes remaining, the Rockets clawed back, thanks to a series of Gloucester turnovers they converted into baskets to cut the deficit to 58-56, with a minute and a half remaining.

Gloucester stretched its lead back to six, seemingly taking back the momentum. That was until Carlene Kluge stormed down the court and knocked down a three, making it 62-59 with 27 seconds left.

With Reading forced to foul to stop the clock, Gloucester converted timely free throws and held on to win 66-62, moving on to face Arlington Catholic Saturday at the Tsongas Center in the Division 2 North state sectional finals.

“This feels good,” said senior Hannah Cain (13 points, 14 rebounds). “Everyone said that we couldn’t do it, so this feels good.”

Cain’s sister, junior Heather, was also a star for Gloucester (17-6), finishing the game with 23 points. They, nor any of their teammates, were phased by the dominant No. 1 seed, or the pressure of the win-or-go-home scenario.

“Coach tells us to take every play like it’s its one game, so we just try to take it one play at a time,” said Cain.

Gloucester ran the court effectively, trying to combat Reading’s size advantage by not getting into a half-court game with them. It also played tremendous defense however, and finished with 11 steals as a team.

“We’ve been talking about this since the beginning of the year, that you have to come out with that kind of fire and you’ve got to believe that you can put yourself in a position to be successful,” said Gloucester coach Jon Flanagan. “Then down the stretch you’ve got to have the composure that we did.”

Reading (21-2) held a 17-12 lead after the first quarter, but Gloucester kept using its speed to create points. Reading played in a 1-2-2 zone and Gloucester continued to put up long-range shots. Even though the shots were not falling, the Cain’s and Katherine Ciaramitaro (eight points, four steals) created steals on the defensive end that resulted in transition points.

Junior guard Audrey Knowlton added 16 points, six rebounds, and two steals to the Gloucester offense.

Gloucester took a 34-31 lead into the half, but quickly gave it back early in the third when Reading combined a greater utilization of Kluge in the post and an increased defensive intensity to get the game even. The No. 5 seed kept its foot on the gas and got itself a 51-45 lead after three.

In the final frame, Reading had difficulty hitting shots and grabbing offensive rebounds early, which allowed Gloucester to extend its lead and eventually hold on to the tight victory.

“We got a little complacent offensively and we tried to slow things down a little more than we would have liked, but we were looking for better shots and perhaps we got a bit tentative instead of being aggressive as we were early,” said Flanagan.

Olivia Healy was a do-it-all player for Reading, scoring nine, grabbing seven rebounds, and getting five steals and two blocks. Melissa Dalpozzo was also a force for the Rockets, finishing with eight points and 13 rebounds.

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