Boston High School: Elizabeth Belanger

Div. 1 Girls: Andover 52, A-B 35

March, 2, 2012
3/02/12
10:47
PM ET
ANDOVER, Mass. -- Andover’s Nicole Boudreau receives the most publicity of anyone on her team, and deservedly so. It’s hard not to pay attention to one of the most consistent scorers in Massachusetts, especially when she scores over 2,000 points for her career or sets her school’s scoring record, like she did Friday night.

Years from now, Andover’s 52-35 win Friday over Acton-Boxborough to move on in the Division 1 North tournament might be remembered as the night Boudreau became Andover’s all-time leading scorer with 2,099 points.

In the present, it will be remembered as a game where the team rose up around Boudreau and made the plays it needed to win.

She still had an impressive performance (20 points, seven rebounds, two steals, three blocks), but it was contributions from players like Jackie Alois (11 points, four rebounds), Rebecca Alois (seven rebounds, five steals), and Ally Fazio (eight points, three steals) that showed why Andover (23-0) is undefeated and favored by many to win the Division 1 State title again this year.

“My team won us the game,” said Boudreau. “It wasn’t about one player today. The Alois’ worked so hard tonight. Rebecca got a bunch of key rebounds. I had a bunch of assists to Jackie and Rebecca because they were trying to double me and other people, so Jackie had a lot of points tonight and we needed it. When everyone works like that, it takes a lot of the pressure off of me, off of Devon (Caveney), and everyone else. They won us the game tonight.”

Andover came out with a full-court press on A-B (13-8) that was smothering at times. When it worked successfully, trapping the ball handler along the sideline, it often lead to turnovers. A-B turned the ball over 20 times in the game.

When it was unable to get the ball, Andover forced A-B to take contested and off-balance shots around the basket.

“Defense is our whole thing,” said Andover coach Jim Tildsley. “We like to press teams and that’s how we win. We’re so small that we have to go to the full-court the whole game and you can see that my kids are in great shape. They can play the whole game and not get tired. They’re physical and they’re mentally tough, but we still have a long way to go.”

Just a speed bump: Towards the end of the first quarter, Andover lead 18-6. Then, with two 3-pointers from A-B to end the quarter and begin the second, it became a six-point game. Coupled that with an Andover cold shooting streak, and before you knew it, it was a close four-point game midway through the quarter.

However, with it’s defensive pressure creating opportunities for it that its offense couldn’t, Andover was able to hold A-B to one basket over the final four minutes and take a 10-point lead into the half.

“(Pressure) was a huge goal in what we were trying to do to beat this team,” said Boudreau. “We knew Elizabeth Belanger (12 points, 10 rebounds) is a great player, so we had to shut her down and we wanted to get her tired. Our full-court pressure does that to people and I think our pressure is what won the game for us tonight. We got a lot of key turnovers and they had a hard time scoring. It really helped us.”

Eyes on the Warriors: At this time of the season, everyone knows who the top seeds are some people would want nothing more than to see them lose. Especially when it comes to Andover, who is looking to win its third Division 1 State Championship in a row. One couldn’t blame them if they felt added pressure, with a metaphorical target on their back for the rest of the state to try to hit.

“Do you think (it feels like there’s a target on my back)?” said Tildsley sarcastically. “There’s a lot of pressure on my kids. It’s pressure, but we like to play under pressure. There’s a ton of pressure on us because everyone’s out to get us. I can’t blame them either, I’d be wanting to beat us too. You saw how tough Acton-Boxborough played tonight. They would have loved to beat us tonight, but fortunately we came out on top.”

Boudreau thinks that having that late-season familiarity is more beneficial than pressure-filled.

“I don’t really think there’s pressure on us,” she said. “We’re all used to being in this situation and we have a goal in mind and we just want to get to it. We all have a pretty big advantage being in this situation. Everyone’s gunning for us, so we have to be on top of our game.”

Up Next: Andover moves on to the Division 1 North Semifinals, where it will face Merrimack Valley Conference foe Central Catholic. As of Friday night, it was unknown where or when the two teams would play each other. The No. 12 seed Raiders knocked off the No. 4 and 5 seeds in the D1 North bracket, Westford and Billerica respectively, to get the opportunity to play unbeaten Andover.

Andover beat Central three times during the regular season, each by double digits. But this isn’t the regular season anymore. In a tournament setting, on any given night, one team can play above expectations or extremely below them.

Tildsley won’t be taking Central lightly, especially since when they beat two higher seeds to get to where they are now.

“Central is a very good team, especially with (Casey) McLaughlin coming back, that’s going to be one heck of a game,” he said. “We’ll be ready to play on Tuesday or Wednesday, whenever we’re playing.”

Recap: No. 1 Andover 63, A-B 50

February, 21, 2012
2/21/12
11:25
PM ET
WESTFORD, Mass. — The entire regular season has been building up for this moment for the Andover girls basketball team.

The Golden Warriors (22-0) capped off their regular season unscathed after defeating Acton-Boxboro, 63-50, in the championship game of the Grey Ghost Classic at Westford Academy on Tuesday night.

Nicole Boudreau filled the stat sheet with 21 points, nine steals, seven rebounds and five assists to take out the team the Warriors beat in the Div. 1 North finals last season.

The question was asked about the Warriors ability to pull off their third championship in a row immediately following their triumph last year at the DCU Center, and the unquestioned leader of the team was ready to address the so called elephant in the room.

“We know we are going to have a tough battle to try and three-peat,” said Boudreau, who finished as the tournament MVP. “I think we are both mentally and physically ready for it. We are going to take every game as it comes.”

Jim Tildsley doesn’t have to dive too far into his game film from the season to show his team the effort other teams will have in store for the Warriors. The Colonials (13-7) have good size at every position, and are one of the strongest defensive teams in Div. 1. That strength was on display, as they held the Warriors to 19 points in the first half.

Boudreau only had four points on 1-of-11 shooting and the Warriors were 1-for-10 from behind the 3-point line.

“That was very, very physical,” said Tildsley. “I think in the second half we kind of tired them out a bit.”

The three-point shot that was lacking was on display in the second half. As Elizabeth Belanger (25 points, 10 rebounds) was singlehandedly taking care of the offensive output in the third quarter for the Colonials, the shots started to fall for Tildsley’s bunch.

Ally Fazio (10 points) hit two 3-pointers to open up the scoring for the Warriors, and Boudreau finally connected from deep to tie things up at 28.

The Warriors went on a 10-1 run to begin the fourth quarter as Devon Caveney scored six of the points in the run.

Range...Enough Said: If you watch Boudreau shoot before practice when she has the time to take shots from anywhere in the gym, her form never changes.

It doesn’t matter if she’s practicing midrange jumpers or effortlessly practicing shots from halfcourt.

That range was on display again in this one.

Boudreau saw the shot clock winding down, and despite the fact that she was roughly 32-feet away from the basket, she didn’t hesitate with her shot and hit nothing but net to put her trademark on the win as the bucket gave the Warriors a 53-39 victory.

Despite all the missed shots in the first half and the sizeable distance between the hoop and her that would probably make some coaches bite a towel like Jerry Tarkanian, Boudreau has the confidence to take the shot and for the most part make it too.

“My teammates have confidence in me to shoot it wherever I am,” she said. “That helps a lot when everyone is cheering you on to shoot it. If someone says not to shoot it, then you are kind of questioning it. In big time situations when the clock is running down I like to have the ball in my hands and hopefully do something good with it.”

Colonial Defense Solid: For three quarters, the Colonials made life difficult for Boudreau and company from any spot on the floor.

The final score was not indicative of the close game that was going on for 24 minutes, as the two teams were playing a back-and-forth basketball game for the majority of the night. Boudreau was having a hard time shaking free of Abby O’Brien in the first half and the rest of the Colonials did a solid job of closing out on the other Warriors outside threats.

“It was like a four-minute lapse,” said Colonials head coach Kim Landry. “All night we closed out on shooters and there was a short lapse when we didn’t.”

Preseason MIAA All-State girls hoop team

December, 12, 2011
12/12/11
3:41
PM ET
ESPN Boston will be unveiling its first MIAA girls basketball poll of the season later today. Here are ESPN Boston's preseason MIAA All-State girls basketball teams:



FIRST TEAM
G – Nicole Boudreau, Sr., Andover
G – Lexi Sells, Sr., Bishop Feehan
F – Elizabeth Belanger, Sr., Acton-Boxborough
F – Ariel Ward, Sr., East Longmeadow
F – Bri Schnare, Sr., Wachusett

SECOND TEAM
G – Monique Heard, Sr., Holyoke
G – Tianna Johnson, Sr., New Mission
G – Dana Theobald, Sr., West Springfield
F – Jen Narlee, Jr., Medfield
F – Olivia Healy, Jr., Reading

THIRD TEAM
G – Kayla Burton, Jr., Newton South
G – Brooke Stewart, Sr., Masconomet
G – Emma Roberson, Sr., Arlington Catholic
F – Casey McLaughlin, Jr., Central Catholic
F – Jen Gonsalves, Sr., Harwich


A-B's Belanger commits to UNH

May, 1, 2011
5/01/11
1:50
PM ET
Acton-Boxborough junior forward Elizabeth Belanger has verbally committed to the University of New Hampshire for the fall of 2012, her mother wrote in an email to ESPNBoston.com this morning.

The 5-foot-11 Belanger won the Dual County League's MVP honors as a sophomore in 2010, and to led the Colonials to the TD Garden floor in 2011. After outlasting archrival Lincoln-Sudbury in overtime in the Division 1 North semifinals. The Colonials lost to eventual state champ Andover at the TD Garden.

For the season, Belanger averaged 20.5 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.7 steals, and registered her 1,000th point in a D1 North first round win over Billerica. For her efforts, she earned a spot on the "Starting Five" of ESPNBoston's inaugural MIAA All-State Team.

ESPNBoston's MIAA All-State Girls Basketball Team

March, 25, 2011
3/25/11
9:10
PM ET
STARTING FIVE

Guard – Nicole Boudreau, Jr., Andover
The state's Gatorade Player of the Year and Merrimack Valley Conference Player of the Year led the Golden Warriors to their second straight Division 1 state title, and put up impressive numbers in her junior season: 23.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.9 steals, 4.5 assists and two blocks, as the Warriors went 27-1. Boudreau is verbally committed to Boston College.

Guard – Natalie Gomez-Martinez, Sr., Andover
Together with Boudreau, the 5-foot-6 Gomez-Martinez formed the state's most formidable backcourt, and backed it up with some impressive numbers of her own. She averaged 13.5 points, 5.6 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 steals as the Golden Warriors won their second straight Division 1 state championship. Gomez-Martinez will continue her career next fall at Division 1 Marist College.

Guard – Blake Dietrick, Sr., Wellesley
The Raiders made a surprise early exit from the Division 1 South tournament, but the 5-foot-11 Dietrick leaves Wellesley as one of the school's all-time greatest athletes. This season she averaged 20.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 3.9 steals and was named the Bay State Conference's MVP. She also hit 52 three-pointers this season. She leaves Wellesley with 1,440 career points, and is the school's all-time leading scorer for either gender in both basketball and lacrosse. Dietrick will continue her basketball career next fall at Princeton University.

Forward – Elizabeth Belanger, Jr., Acton-Boxborough
The 5-foot-11 junior continued the momentum from sophomore season, in which she won the Dual County League's MVP, to held the Colonials break through to the TD Garden floor in 2011. After outlasting archrival Lincoln-Sudbury in overtime, the Colonials made it to the Division 1 North final at the Garden, where they lost to eventual state champ Andover. For the season, Belanger averaged 20.5 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.7 steals, and registered her 1,000th point in a D1 North first round win over Billerica.

Center – Tori Faieta, Sr., St. Mary’s
At 6-foot-2, the senior imposed her will around the rim for four years, culminating this season with a Division 3 state championship, the school's first state title since 2003. She was named the Catholic Central League's MVP, and is a four-time league all-star. This season, she averaged 13 points and 11.2 rebounds, and finishes as the all-time leading scorer (1,471 points) and rebounder (1,416 boards) in school history. She will continue her basketball career next fall at Stonehill College.

BEST OF THE REST

Cassi Amenta, Sr., St. Mary’s
Together with Faieta, the 5-foot-11 Amenta formed one of the state's most vicious frontcourts, culminating with a Division 3 state title. The two-time Catholic Central League All-Star leaves St. Mary's as the third all-time leading scorer (907 points), including averages of 10.5 points and 7.6 rebounds this season.

Nicole Beresford, Sr., Marshfield
The 5-foot-11 Beresford has been a rock for the Lady Rams since her freshman year, earning Atlantic Coast League All-Star nods in all four of her years on the varsity and earning a McDonald's All-American nod this season. She averaged 22.4 points and 11.2 rebounds in her senior season, and leaves Marshfield as the school's all-time leading scorer for either gender (1,804 points). Beresford will continue her career next fall at Dartmouth.

Sophie Bikofsky, Sr., Newton South
As co-MVP of the Dual County League for the Large division champs, the 5-foot-11 Bikofsky honed her reputation as one of the area's best shooters. This season she averaged 18.5 points, seven rebounds and 2.7 steals, and memorably got her 1,000th point within 30 seconds of teammate and fellow All-Stater Kendall Burton. Bikofsky will continue her career next fall at Brown.

Kendall Burton, Sr., Newton South
The DCL's other co-MVP was just as versatile on the court as her counterpart Bikofsky. She averaged 15.5 points, six rebounds and 1.7 assists for the Lions as they advanced to the Division 1 South semifinals. Burton, along with Bikofsky, was also a McDonald's All-American nominee this season. She will continue her career next fall at Villanova University.

Amber Dillon, Sr., Brookline
The 5-foot-4 Dillon led the Warriors to a 14-7 campaign in her senior season, while finishing second to Wellesley's Blake Dietrick in scoring in the Bay State Conference. She averaged 15.3 points, four rebounds, four assists and earned a McDonald's All-American nomination this season.

Khadijah Ellison, Sr., Burke
With freakish athletic talents, the 5-foot-8 senior established herself as one of the state's craftiest ballhandlers, if not the best in the city of Boston. The Bulldogs made an early exit in the Division 3 South tournament, but her brightest days are ahead of her. Ellison, the No. 44 overall player nationally in the Class of 2011 by ESPNU, will continue her career next fall in the SEC at Mississippi State.

Julie Frankian, Sr., Millbury
The 5-foot-11 Frankian established herself as one of the most dynamic scorers outside of I-495, leading the Woolies to a fifth straight Central Mass. Division 2 title and fourth straight appearance in the Division 2 state championship. Frankian leaves Millbury as the school's all-time leading scorer, and for her senior season averaged 19.3 points, 8.9 rebounds and three assists. She will continue her career next fall at Division 2 Assumption College.

Arielle Gomes, Sr., New Bedford
The 5-foot-11 power forward was a force in the middle for the Whalers, who went 20-0 during the regular season to earn the No. 1 overall seed in the South and advance to the Division 1 Eastern Mass finals, where they lost to eventual state champion Andover. Before losing to Andover, the Whalers allowed just 40 points per game in the playoffs. For the season she averaged 17.7 points and five assists, and finishes her career at New Bedford as the second all-time leading scorer (1,284 points).

Brenna Gonsalves, Sr., Coyle-Cassidy
The 5-foot-10 Gonsalves leaves Coyle as the school's all-time leading scorer for both boys and girls, with 1,615 points. She was also a three-time Eastern Athletic Conference scoring champion. With Gonsalves leading the way, the Warriors won three straight EAC titles, and took the Division 3 South crown earlier this month. She finishes with a career scoring average of 17.9 points, and amassed 672 rebounds, 254 steals, 202 assists and 140 blocks. She will continue her career next fall at Division 2 Adelphi University.

Monique Heard, Jr., Holyoke
Holyoke's spark plug of a 5-foot-5 point put in a dazzling junior season for the Purple Knights, averaging 22.5 points and six assists per game as they went 19-3 and advanced to the Western Mass. Division 1 semifinals. Heard was also the inaugural recipient of the Basketball Hall of Fame/MassLive Western Mass Player of the Year.

Morgan Jenkins, Sr., Revere
The 6-foot Jenkins was a dominant force in the paint for the Patriots, who won the Northeastern Conference and went 20-0 in the regular season to earn a No. 1 seed in the Division 1 North tournament. Jenkins, who led the NEC in scoring average (18.8 points), will continue her career next fall at St. Michael's College.

Carlene Kluge, Sr., Reading
The 6-foot Kluge lead a young Rockets squad to Middlesex League dominance, as they went 21-2 and won the league outright in the last year before splitting into two divisions. She averaged 13.2 points on the season, as the Rockets advanced to the Division 2 North semifinals. Kluge will continue her career next fall at Bentley College.

Melissa Miller, Sr., Central Catholic
A four-year member of the varsity, Miller co-captained the Raiders to a 20-3 campaign this season and was one of the region's premier forwards, averaging 11.1 points and 7.2 rebounds. For her career, the Merrimack Valley Conference All-Star amassed over 850 points and 500 rebounds. She will continue her career next fall at Merrimack College on a full scholarship.

Gabie Polce, Sr., Central Catholic
A four-year varsity player who has run the point for the Raiders the past 3 years, the 5-foot-9 Polce captained the Raiders to a 20-3 campaign, averaging 10.6 points, 3.7 assists and 2.8 steals. For her career, the Merrimack Valley Conference All-Star scored 838 points, over 210 steals and more than 300 assists. She will continue her career next fall at Division 2 College of St. Rose.

Alyssa Roach, Sr., New Bedford
Along with Arielle Gomes, Roach was a force offensively for the Whalers, who averaged nearly 70 points per game in the regular season and finished the year 24-1, bowing out to eventual state champ Andover in the Division 1 Eastern Mass finals. She averaged 12.6 points and 8.1 rebounds on the season. Roach will continue her career next fall at American International College.

Emma Roberson, Jr., Arlington Catholic
The 5-foot-9 Roberson was the catalyst for a young Cougars squad that captured their first Division 2 state championship in school history in dominating fashion, a 49-28 drubbing of Millbury. After a competitive Catholic Central slate, Roberson led a Cougars defense that allowed just 39 points per game in six playoff games.

Bri Schnare, Jr., Wachusett
The 6-foot-2 forward turned in a stellar junior season for the 15-6 Mountaineers, averaging 12.2 points, eight rebounds and four blocks per game and earning a Mid-Wach A All-Star nod. When play resumes at the end of the year, Schnare will be a captain for head coach Jim Oxford.

Dana Theobald, Jr., West Springfield
One of several lightning-quick point guards to rule Western Mass, the 5-foot-6 Theobald led the district in scoring with 23.5 points per game. Behind Theobald, the Terriers earned a No. 1 overall seed in the Division 1 West sectional, and lost in the semifinals to Longmeadow in an overtime thriller.

Boudreau steps up as Andover downs A-B

March, 11, 2011
3/11/11
7:10
PM ET


BOSTON -- Amid the flurry of a 7-2 Acton-Boxborough run to start the contest in tonight's Division 1 North final at TD Garden, Andover head coach James Tildsley bellowed a simple request to his squad on the floor -- and, to Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year Nicole Boudreau in particular: “Wake up.”

Upset with his team’s effort following the opening tip, Tildsley called a timeout with over five minutes to play in the opening frame, immediately calling out his star player for an apparent lack of focus.

“I was really giving her the business,” Tildsley said. “She wasn’t covering her girl and she threw up a couple of bad shots. But one thing about her is, she responds. I can really get in her face, and she knows. And she goes out and executes.”

And from that point on, the defending state champion Golden Warriors began asserting themselves, ending the first half on a 31-15 run and withstanding a late, fourth-quarter run by Acton-Boxborough to prevail, 57-51.

Boudreau recounts the episode: “Mr. Tildsley looked at me and said, ‘You’re playing like absolute crap.’ and hey, I couldn’t argue with him,” Boudreau said. “I didn’t really come out and play the way I could. I love when Mr. Tildsley gets in my face and tells me stuff like that because it just encourages me even more. I knew I had to step up.”

Andover (25-1) now faces South sectional champion New Bedford on Monday night for a spot in the State Championship game.

More than anything, offensive displays from Boudreau and A-B's Elizabeth Belanger were at the focal point of this sectional matchup. Belanger accrued a team-high 25 points (16 in the second half) to go along with 13 rebounds and two steals. Her counterpart, who was limited to three points through the first eight minutes, put together a game-high 34-point performance, highlighted by a buzzer-beating three pointer before the half from mere feet inside the mid-court line.

She then walked toward her teammates, her pointer finger stoically raised in the air.

Entering the second half, Boudreau hit her team’s first two field goals (both three pointers) to conclude a 9-0 run by herself. Minutes later, Belanger had her turn, registering an unanswered eight points in a row for the Colonials, while also drawing a fourth foul on Andover senior guard Natalie Gomez-Martinez (eight points, three rebounds) with 3:38 to go in the third.

“It definitely became a different game because Natalie is one of our leaders out there,” Boudreau said.

Thankfully for the defending champions, adjustments made without Gomez-Martinez allowed them to enter the final stanza up by 17 points.

Yet the Colonials proved resilient, battling back in the fourth behind five points from senior guard Hannah Foley (11 points, four steals) and eight from Belanger, who reentered the game in the second half after getting kicked in the head diving for a lose ball midway through the second quarter.

With about three minutes to play, the Colonials cut Andover’s lead to seven at 56-49, but couldn’t move any closer until Belanger hit a layup with mere seconds remaining to produce the final score.

“We come out in the fourth quarter, and in the first four minutes, we play unbelievable,” Tildsley said. “I’m looking and we’re up 19. I look again we’re only up ten. You’ve got to give [Acton-Boxborough] a ton of credit. They’re well coached and they battled the whole game.”

Acton-Boxborough (20-4) outrebounded Andover 37-27 in the game, and 9-5 on the offensive glass.

The Warriors recorded 11 steals and constantly pestered Acton-Boxborough in the backcourt with its 2-1-2 trap defense, mainly through pressure from junior guard Ally Fazio (Four points) and Gomez-Martinez.

“Making steals and running,” said Gomez-Martinez. “That’s our game.”

The head coach agreed.

“The key to the game was our pressing defense,” Tildsley said. “Every time we got a good pressing defense we got turnovers and we capitalized off the turnovers. We’ve been doing that all year. I mean, we’re not a good set-offense team. We’re a team that has to really press and score off of our press.”

All told, the showcase of Boudreau and Belanger on this stage will be remembered, said first-year Acton-Boxborough head coach Kim Landry.

“Any time you can get two marquee players in a matchup in this sort of atmosphere is great. It’s great for basketball. It’s great for the fans. It’s fun for coaches in terms of strategies."

No. 3 Newton South stifles No. 4 A-B

January, 24, 2011
1/24/11
10:55
PM ET
NEWTON, Mass. -- For more than 20 minutes, the door to Newton South’s locker room stay closed. Sticking to his promise to reporters, Sam Doner didn’t scream following Monday’s game, he didn’t yell.

The coach certainly enjoyed the result -- a 55-41 victory over Acton-Boxborough in a showdown of top-five teams in ESPN Boston’s MIAA girls basketball poll. But he’ll happily poke and prod the process.

“They started having too much fun,” Doner said of his players.

Newton South
Buddy Leipzig for ESPNBoston.comSophie Bikofsky (13 points, eight rebounds) nailed three 3-pointers to give Newton South a comfortable lead over A-B.
No, Doner isn’t a stick in the mud. Toward the end of the fourth quarter Monday, he even joked while Kendall Burton was at the foul line, tossing a set of keys in the air in a light moment with his star guard. But he drove into his players the importance of playing not 27 minutes, not 28, not even “31:59,” he said.

“It’s a 32-minute game,” Doner said.

They got it. And it’s a telling reason why the No. 3 Lions are unbeaten and enjoying an early advantage in Dual County League play.

“We have to be more serious on the court,” senior Chloe Rothman said. “We had an 18-point lead at one time, and we should have turned it into a …”

Rothman paused slightly, before -- unprompted -- saying in unison with Sophie Bikofsky “a 25-point lead.”

“Jinx,” Bikofsky quipped.

“But it went down to 11,” Rothman said. “Play all 32 minutes.”

Mind you, Newton South (11-0) never trailed and was largely never threatened thanks to birthday girl Julia Sloan-Cullen (15 points, nine rebounds) and Bikofsky (13 points, eight rebounds). But as much fun as winning is, Doner is demanding more with so much promise awaiting his Lions.

They lived up to a great deal of it against the Colonials (9-1). When their shots weren’t falling from the outside, they looked inside to Sloan-Cullen. When Bikofsky (three 3-pointers) found her stroke, Newton South was off and running, pushing its lead to 10 by halftime, 12 by the end of the third quarter and a game-high 49-31 with 4:28 to play.

With the Colonials playing primarily a zone defense, Newton South found the holes when it needed to, mostly behind Sloan-Cullen. But Doner lamented not giving her the ball more in the second half, which he put on himself.

“I think when it doesn’t work for everybody else on the team, it’s time for somebody else to step up,” Sloan-Cullen said. “It just so happened tonight my offense was there.”

Meanwhile, the Colonials struggled to find any rhythm on their end. Star junior Elizabeth Belanger scored 11 points, but six of those came in garbage time, and A-B went long stretches without any offense.

It went the final two minutes of the second, 3:12 of the third and 2:09 of the fourth without a field goal, killing any chance of carrying momentum through stoppages.

“We knew to be successful you have to go at them, and we spent a lot of time where they got us back on our heels offensively,” A-B coach Kim Landry said. “They’re going to make shots. They’re good players and they shoot the ball well, but I thought we could have been more aggressively offensively.”

The reality is Newton South didn’t give it much of a chance. Any time A-B came close, the Lions responded, putting together a 13-2 run after A-B tied it in the first quarter, and an 11-2 spurt when it sliced the deficit to single digits in the third. Playing physical interior defense, Newton South forced the Colonials into 20 turnovers, including nine in the first-quarter alone.

Defense certainly isn’t a problem, and balance -- Rothman and Burton each added 10 points -- isn’t either.

“I think we can do something,” Doner said, “but it’s up to their mindset, if they’re really matured and understanding that every game is a big game.”

And if they don’t have too much fun.

“Not too much,” Doner said.

Then, he laughed.

Preseason All-State Hoops squads

December, 8, 2010
12/08/10
6:50
PM ET
High school basketball season is finally upon us, and to kick things off, we're unveiling our All-State teams for both boys and girls basketball. Without further ado...

BOYS

ALL-MIAA

First Team
G – Joe Bramanti, Sr., Andover
F – Pat Connaughton, Sr., St. John’s Prep
F – Richard Rodgers, Sr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
F – Jake Layman, Jr., King Philip
C – Jimmy Zenevitch, Sr., Central Catholic

Second Team
G – Victor Aytche, Sr., West Springfield
G – Steve Wynn, Jr., New Bedford
F – Samir McDaniels, Sr., New Mission
F – Akosa Maduegbanum, Jr., Charlestown
F – Noah Vonleh, Soph., Haverhill

Third Team
G – Zach Hurynowicz, Sr., Burlington
G – Jules Tavares, Sr., New Bedford
G – Jon Henault, Sr., St. Bernard’s
F – Shane Sims, Sr. Brockton
C – John Swords, Sr., Lincoln-Sudbury

Mass. All-NEPSAC (post-grads excluded)

First Team
G – Rene Castro, Soph., Beaver Country Day
G – Marcus Grant, Sr., Lawrence Academy
F – Alex Murphy, Jr., St. Mark’s
C – Kaleb Tarczewski, Jr., St. Mark’s
C – Dennis Clifford, Sr., Milton Academy

Second Team
G – Jaylen Brantley, Soph., Wilbraham & Monson
G – Canaan Severin, Jr., Worcester Academy
F – Nik Stauskas, Jr., St. Mark’s
F – Andrew Chrabascz, Soph., Cushing Academy
F – Evan Cummins, Jr., Northfield-Mt. Hermon

GIRLS

First Team
G – Blake Dietrick, Sr., Wellesley
G – Kendall Burton, Sr., Newton South
G – Nicole Boudreau, Jr., Andover
G – Khadijah Ellison, Sr., Burke
F – Mariah Lesure, Sr., Amherst

Second Team
G – Natalie Gomez-Martinez, Sr., Andover
G – Briana Hunt, Sr., Newton North
F – Elizabeth Belanger, Jr., Acton-Boxborough
F – Leigha Tacey, Sr., Foxborough
F – Melissa Miller, Sr., Central Catholic

Third Team
G – Blake Underhill, Jr., Ashland
G – Gabie Polce, Sr., Central Catholic
G – Sophie Bikofsky, Sr., Newton South
F – Shannon Holt, Jr., Wachusett
F – Amanda Harrington, Sr., Sutton

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