Boston High School: Brianna Rudolph

Recap: No. 7 St. Mary's 38, No. 9 Lynn English 30

December, 28, 2012
LYNN, Mass. -– Two of the best girls basketball teams in the state faced off Saturday night in the championship game of the ninth Annual Walter Boverini Basketball Tournament, as No. 7 St. Mary’s of Lynn (6-0) was able to hold off host No. 9 Lynn English (3-2) for a 38-30 win.

It was not the typical game between the two, as there were numerous turnovers and the teams shot very poorly from the floor, but the defensive intensity showed by both teams treated fans to an intense, back-and-forth-game.

“It definitely wasn’t a work of art,” said St. Mary’s head coach Jeff Newhall. “It was two good teams and I thought our defense was outstanding. I think they played real hard too, as their defense definitely disrupted what we wanted to do. I think these are two of the better teams in the state and we knew it wasn’t going to be a high scoring game. We missed a lot of easy shots, but we hung in there.”

Entering the fourth quarter with a slim 21-19 lead, St. Mary’s junior guard Sharell Sanders took the game over scoring 10 of her 11 points in the fourth quarter enabling the Spartans to pull away and hold on for their sixth win of the year.

Even more impressive for Sanders was the defense she played on Bulldogs' superstar Catherine Stinson, limiting her to just three points in the game. For her efforts, Sanders took home tournament MVP honors.

“Sherrell (Sanders) was terrific all game,” Newhall said. “She ran the point very well, but to do what she did to Catherine Stinson, arguably the best player in the Northeastern Conference, was unbelievable.”

English cut the deficit to four at 32-28 with just over a minute remaining, but Spartans junior Brianna Rudolph’s layup and a foul with 47 seconds remaining, followed by a monster fist pump from Newhall, sealed the win.

Newhall credited his team's conditioning to be able to pull from the Bulldogs in the final quarter.

“We talked about before the game how we wanted to put on a full court pressure, not necessarily to steal the ball, but to wear them down,” he said. “We work hard and we pride our self in being in shape and I thought down the stretch [Lynn English] showed some signs of wear. They turned the ball over a couple more times than we did.”

Both teams struggled in the opening quarter, combining for just 11 points and Lynn English leading 6-5, but both teams eventually settled in.

This wasn’t the first time St. Mary’s has struggled early in a game this season –- nerves possibly playing a factor.

“Maybe,” Newhall said. “We played Arlington Catholic last Friday and the same thing happened, but once we settled in we were OK. I think when the ball won’t go in mentally it is an obstacle. Jennie (Mucciarone) hit the three towards the end of the first quarter and everyone was like ‘finally’.”

Rudolph led the way with 12 points, followed by Sanders and Mucciarone with 11. Nine of Mucciarone’s 11 points came from behind the arc.

The Bulldogs were led by senior Dolores Latimer who finished with 13 points.

With two big wins over Arlington Catholic and Lynn English so far this season and defensive efforts leading the charge, it is apparent defense will be what makes the Spartans go this season.

“We held Arlington Catholic last week to 42 points and then Lynn English to 30 tonight, so if you are holding some of the top teams in the state to those point totals, and you can make a couple of shots, you’re going to be in a good spot to win,” Newhall said.

He continued, “There is a long way to go. We had a great season two years ago, but last year was a struggle. We have already done some things this year that we weren’t able to do last year. The year before I think we won six titles, including tournaments and championships, and last year we got shut out. Being in our first championship game this year and winning it is gratifying, and to get this trophy back is significant to us. It is three out of four years (winning the Boverini tournament) and [Lynn English is] definitely a rival of ours. It was a great night for us.”

The tournament has a special place in Newhall’s heart, as the man the tournament is named for, Walter Boverini, is his wife’s uncle.

Boverini was the state senate majority leader, as well as a teacher, administrator and football coach in the city of Lynn. He was a graduate of Lynn Classical and Boston College.

“It has a special meaning to me for me. First of all any tournament featuring all the Lynn schools is great, but it is always intense and there are bigger crowds,” Newhall said. “Secondly, Walter Boverini is my wife’s uncle so I have a personal connection and he was a very good friend of mine. To be able to compete in Lynn in honor of someone who you’re real close to is significant.”

In addition to Sanders winning MVP honors, fellow Spartan senior Emily Morris was named to the all-tournament team. Joining them on the team were Lynn English’s Latimer, Lynn Classical’s Chelsea Rogers and Lynn Tech’s Zulmary Gonzalez.

Recap: No. 6 Archies 73, No. 22 St. Mary's 51

January, 9, 2012

LYNN, Mass. — Archbishop Williams’ depth, and length in the frontcourt, were too much for St. Mary’s of Lynn, as the Bishops ran away with a 73-51 victory last night at Tony Conigliaro Gymnasium.

Sara Ryan filled the stat sheet with 19 points, seven steals, seven assists, six rebounds and four blocks. Kayla Papazian dominated the second half on the interior with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Alana Gilmer added 12 points and three blocks to push the Bishops to 8-1 on the season.

The blueprint for the Bishops this season is to hit their opponents with a steady flow of production from the starting five to a solid core off the bench. Ryan and Papazian have been the clear cut go-to players so far this season -- especially in their 104-point outburst against Bishop Feehan –- and with players like Gilmer, Leah Spencer, Michaela Flanagan and Aidan Duquette all ready to come in compete at a similar level, it makes life a little more difficult on opposing coaching staffs.

“The plan is that we keep going at a steady pace,” said Bancroft. “Hopefully, the opponent can’t keep up with us, but you never know.”

The defending Div. 3 state champions were keeping pace with the Bishops in the first half, but the guests started to treat their hosts rather rudely in the third.

The Bishops used stifling press defense, spearheaded by Ryan, to bolt out on a 15-4 run in the period. Olivia Conrad worked well in the post with three straight assists, one to Spencer and the other two to Papazian.

Ryan stole the ball at half court and went in for a lay-in and she put home another lay-up off the glass after another steal. Ryan then nailed a back breaking 3-pointer to push the lead to 19.

“Not most high school girls can go that deep and really not miss a beat,” said Lady Spartans’ head coach Jeff Newhall.

Bishops Rule the Glass: Bancroft has had plenty of guard-oriented teams during his time as Bishops head coach, but this version has plenty of balance up front.

The Bishops have six players who stand 5-foot-9 or taller, and on this night they owned the glass with a 42-21 advantage. Papazian was best in the second half on the glass with nine of her 10 rebounds. She deposited those offensive boards into easy lay-ins to keep the Lady Spartans from sniffing a comeback of any sorts.

More Time for Jaylen: Jaylen Williams, the Bishops 6-foot-3-inch freshman, is still working her way back into form after tweaking her ankle in the first game, and the youngster got some valuable minutes during the first half.

Williams had her moments as an inside presence as she blocked two shots and forced some awkward looking attempts by the Lady Spartans. She did also show that she is still a freshman and that playing against opponents with more experience and physical strength is something she’ll have to get used to.

“Now she’s participating in practice 100 percent, so now we are working her back into the games,” said Bancroft. “We are trying to get her game going. She’s playing against stronger than her and older than her. We need to get her into the games and hopefully use her a lot more as the season goes along.

Next Player Up for St. Mary's: Things have changed for St. Mary’s after the 3-0 start, and after losing Brianna Rudolph to a broken ankle. The Lady Spartans are 5-4 after the loss and looking to right the ship with a cast of younger, but talented players.

“We were getting into a comfort level with our rotation and then she goes down everything kind of changes,” said Newhall. “There’s still an adjustment period for us. On the flip side, playing in this league against this competition is only going to make us better.”

Sophomore Sharell Sanders showed flashes as an up-and-coming point guard for Newhall. She was fearless going to the hall against the much bigger Bishops’ front-line and she showed ranged with two deep 3-pointers.

Sanders finished with 14 points and four steals before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter.

“She does play the game as she possibly can,” said Newhall. “She does put tremendous pressure on the ball. She rushes the ball up and her decision making is good most of the times and she’s under a lot of pressure on both ends of the floor.”