Boston High School: Greater New Bedford

ESPNBoston.com's State Semifinal Hoop Picks

March, 11, 2013
3/11/13
1:58
AM ET
EASTERN MASS. FINALS

Boys

D1: Mansfield (24-2) vs. Central Catholic (21-5)
Brendan Hall: Whatever the fourth-quarter lead is, you might as well double it. Both squads are terrific finishing teams. Still, it’s hard for me to go against The Illuminati. Pick: Mansfield
Chris Bradley: The way Central Catholic is playing defensively, they can’t be beaten by anybody in the state. Tyler Nelson is on another level from pretty much any guard in the state in terms of playmaking, while his backcourt mate Lucas Hammel is great on-ball defender. Pick: Central Catholic

D2: Brighton (19-6) vs. Scituate (21-3)
Hall: Last month I said that whoever came out of the D2 North tournament would be battle-tested enough to run the table. Brighton came back stronger than ever after last season’s disappointment, and they are playing as well as any right now. Malik James has been playing his way into Super Team consideration at this current clip. Pick: Brighton
Bradley: Brighton’s toughest tests of the Division 2 tournament have passed—the Bengals beat Melrose and North Andover, two of the best teams in the state. A great season by Scituate, but I can’t see any of the teams left in the Division 2 field hanging with Brighton. Pick: Brighton

D3: Danvers (22-2) vs. Martha’s Vineyard (18-5)
Hall: Save a bad weekend at the Comcast Tournament, Falcons have survived every test given to them this season. With the Vineyard, there is always the element of the great unknown. We know the Vineyarders can run, but so can the Falcons. Pick: Danvers
Bradley: What a run by the Vineyard, beating Wareham in the D3 South final. That being said, Danvers has proven that they are hands-down the best team in the state. Expect a few treys each from Nick McKenna, Nick Bates, and Vinny Clifford. Pick: Danvers

Lynnfield (16-7) vs. Bishop Connolly (18-6)
Hall: Pulling for Scott Barboza’s alma mater to get some hardware here. Pick: Connolly
Bradley: Connolly has a slew of quick, athletic guards who can score and put a lot of pressure on opposing teams defensively. I foresee Lynnfield struggling with that pressure. Pick: Bishop Connolly

Girls

D1: Braintree (24-2) vs. Central Catholic (20-5)
Hall: Defense wins championships, and the Wamps have one of the best defensive players around in Bay State Conference MVP Bridget Herlihy. Four of the Wamps’ five starters are sophomores or younger, including Herlihy, yet this is one of the tallest lineups in the state. Gonna be fun to watch this crew the next few years. Pick: Braintree.
Bradley: Make it another sweep for Central Catholic boys and girls in the state semifinals. I’m calling upset here, expect a huge game from Casey McLaughlin. Pick: Central Catholic

D2: Reading (23-0) vs. Medfield (24-2)
Hall: Would be cool to see one of the state’s finest athletes Jen Narlee bring home a state title in two sports this calendar year, but you don’t get to 48 straight wins without some role players stepping up. Rockets’ workhorse Olivia Healy will get hers, but the hero will once again be someone else. Pick: Reading
Bradley: Well, I don’t have the guts to pick against an Olivia Healy-led team. Anybody who does--feel free to raise your hand. Pick: Reading

D3: Archbishop Williams (21-5) vs. Pentucket (24-1)
Hall: Does this qualify as an upset if I go with Pentucket? Sachems have been quietly waiting in the grass all season long. Monday night, they will strike with a first-round haymaker. Pick: Pentucket
Bradley: A great run by Archbishop Williams here in the final stretch of the season. I know this has been a highly-anticipated matchup all year, but I’m going to pick what some may call the “upset” and go with Pentucket, but expect an absolute thriller Pick: Pentucket

D4: Fenway (14-7) vs. Greater New Bedford (20-4)
Hall: Tajanay Veiga-Lee was the hero last year against this same GNB squad, but I like the Bears getting their revenge Monday night. Pick: Greater New Bedford
Bradley: Fenway's girls are battle-tested and on quite a roll right now, as they've won seven games in a row. Pick: Fenway

***

CENTRAL/WEST FINALS

Boys

D1: Springfield Putnam (22-1) vs. Milford (20-3)
Hall: I love the way Putnam plays so inspired, and their whipping of Springfield Central in Saturday's D1 West Final might be the Beavers' high water mark of the season. Look for big games out of KayJuan Bynum and David Murrell. Pick: Putnam
Bradley: Putnam has more talent and more speed than Milford, but during their tournament run the Hawks have displayed the type of toughness and poise that it takes to go to the state finals. Milford doesn’t have a go-to guy, but they have a team full of kids who aren’t afraid to take the big shot-which is why they’ll beat Putnam and give Central a run for their money in the state finals. Pick: Milford

D2: St. Bernard's (19-4) vs. South Hadley (16-7)
Hall: Bernardians made it this far last year, only to meet a disappointing end. They're back again, and more determined. Pick: St. Bernard's
Bradley: The Bernardians will have a significant size advantage, as well as one of the better scorers in Division 2 in John Crawley. Count on St. Bernard’s to punch their ticket into the D2 state finals. Pick: St. Bernard's

D3: Smith Academy (21-3) vs. Littleton (24-1)
Hall:
Here's a team we missed the boat on. Smith took the D3 field by storm, and from what I understand they're a loaded bunch. I like their chances in this one. Pick: Smith Academy
Bradley: Littleton hasn't lost a game since December, thanks mainly to a high-scoring attack and exceptional play from senior guard Chris Murray. They certainly weren't the favorite in a tough D3 Central field, but they made it out alive. Pick: Littleton

Girls

D1: Holy Name (22-2) vs. Chicopee (16-7)
Hall: Junior center and Providence commit Brianna Frias is a monster on the boards, and my pick for Defensive Player of the Year. Long-time Naps coach Barry Finneron has his best shot at a state title in a while. Pick: Holy Name
Bradley: Holy Name is on quite the run and couldn’t be any higher emotionally after absolutely blowing out Wachusett in the D1 Central final. Sophomore Gigi Gunther is a future star. Pick: Holy Name

D2: Nashoba (21-2) vs. Hoosac Valley (19-5)
Hall: Going with strength of schedule in this one, and the Chieftains delivered powerhouse Tyngsborough its first-ever loss within Central Mass. to get to this stage. Pick: Nashoba
Bradley: All five of Nashoba’s starters could be considered go-to scorers, they’ve had such an even scoring attack all year. Their balance offensively is going to give Hoosac plenty of problems. Pick: Nashoba

D3: Lee (18-5) vs. University Park (23-1)
Hall: Death, taxes, and the Lee Wildcats on the DCU Center floor competing for a state title. Pick: Lee
Bradley: Lee is clicking at the right time, beating favored power Sabis in the Western Mass. Division 3 finals. Not only that, Stephanie Young has shown several times this year that she can break 20 or 25 on any given night. Pick: Lee

Roundtable: Predicting the MIAA tournaments

May, 31, 2012
5/31/12
11:45
AM ET
Today, with the MIAA Baseball and Softball tournaments set to begin, the lacrosse tournament in its first action, we roll out predictions from ESPNBoston.com staff and correspondents.

BOYS LACROSSE

Scott Barboza
ESPN Boston High Schools Editor


DIVISION 1 EASTERN MASS.

Final - Duxbury over Acton-Boxborough
Why this pick: Really?

DIVISION 2

Eastern Mass.
Final - Concord-Carlisle over Hingham

Central
Final - Algonquin over Grafton

West
*Brackets to be released

State Final
Concord-Carlisle over Algonquin
Why this pick: The Patriots defend better than just about anybody in the state, save for No. 1 Duxbury. While C-C might not overwhelm with offense, they're still talented up top with Will Blumenberg and Jackson Finigan.

Division 3 EMass
Final - Dover-Sherborn over Norwell
Why this pick: Because it has to be the Raiders' year eventually, right?

SOFTBALL

Scott Barboza
ESPN Boston High Schools Editor


Division 1

North
Final - Malden over Boston Latin

South
Final - King Philip over Bridgewater-Raynham

Central
Final - Milford over Shrewsbury

West
Final - Agawam over Minnechaug

State final - Milford over King Philip
Why this pick: The Scarlet Hawks have been the most consistent team box to wire. And there's Shannon Smith, who's been unreal this season.

Division 2

North
Final - Dracut over Burlington

South
Final - Coyle-Cassidy over Fairhaven

Central
Final - Grafton over Notre Dame Academy

West
Final - Hampshire over Wahconah

State Final - Dracut over Grafton
Why this pick: The Middies beat up on a deep Merrimack Valley Conference schedule this season. That'll make the postseason seem a little easier.

Division 3

North
Final - St. Mary's (Lynn) over Greater Lowell

South
Final - Greater New Bedford over Avon

Central
Final - Blackstone Valley Tech over Assabet

West
Final - Turners Falls over Franklin County Tech

State final - Greater New Bedford over Blackstone Valley Tech
Why this pick: As mentioned in my bold prediction, I think the Bears will enter well adapted to playoff softball.

BASEBALL

Brendan Hall
ESPN Boston High Schools Editor


DIVISION 1

North: Lowell
The No. 1 seed Red Raiders have one of the state’s toughest draws to start, in a pairing I like to call the “Group of Death” in the upper left quadrant of the bracket. To get to the semifinals, the Raiders have to face the winner of tonight’s Westford-Salem matchup, followed by the winner of Chelmsford and Malden Catholic. Should they make it to the semifinals, the presumptive opponent would likely be Peabody -– and you have to think the Tanners will roll out ace Pat Ruotolo in that matchup.

If the Raiders can survive all of that -– which they can, with a deep stable of hitters and one of the state’s best rotations in Matt Tulley, Chad Gens and R.J. Noel –- why shouldn’t they win this bracket?

South: BC High
“Group of Death 1-A” might be the lower left quadrant in this bracket –- Barnstable, Catholic Memorial, Framingham and the Eagles. A win over Framingham would pit the Eagles against either CM or Barnstable –- neither of which is an easy out by any stretch – and after that, you have to think there is vengeance on their minds at the possibility of facing Franklin again in the semifinals (the Panthers crushed BC High last year, plating 17 runs). A BC High-Xaverian final isn’t out of the question here.

Central: St. John’s of Shrewsbury
No team in the state has been as consistent as the Pioneers, who swept St. John’s Prep, didn’t allow a run in two games against Burncoat, and came back around to clobber their lone losses (BC High, New Bedford) the second time through. Look for Ben White, Mike Badjo and company to beat Milford in a much-anticipated final.

West: East Longmeadow
This is the last chance for the Spartans, who have been placed with lofty expectations since the town won the state American Legion title two summers ago. If Steve Moyers, Matt O’Neil and company can’t get it done this year, then when?

State Champion: Lowell
One of the state’s great baseball cities gets a state title to call its own, while Tulley and Gens go down as two of the Mill City’s best ever.

DIVISION 2

North: Danvers
North Andover is the No. 1 seed for the second straight year, but Danvers has the big-game experience to overcome everybody else in this bracket. Potential semifinal matchups with either Lynn Classical or Reading will be must-see.

South: Plymouth North
This is my bold prediction of the playoffs. Few teams across the state have a track record like Eagles skipper Dwayne Follette when it comes tournament time, and if they can get by Dennis-Yarmouth in the quarterfinals –- a team they lost to twice this season –- I can see them overcoming Hingham or Oliver Ames. Top seed Dighton-Rehoboth lost to the Eagles in last year’s final, by the way –- could we see this again in 2012?

The Eagles are aggressive on the basepaths and at the plate, in a unique brand of baseball my loyal legion of Twitter followers have dubbed “DwayneBall”. How this hasn’t become a hashtag until 2012 is anyone’s guess, but let’s get this trending, fellas.

Central: Auburn
Rockets have the clearest path to the final, whereas No. 1 seed Northbridge might have to avoid an upset from feisty Hudson in the quarterfinals. The Rockets also hold the advantage over Northrbridge in the regular season.

West: Monument Mountain
More than Pittsfield or Taconic, everyone out west says this is the best team in the Berkshires. And the fact the Spartans have been doing it all without Columbia-bound shortstop John Kinne, who has been out all season, is even more impressive.

State Champion: Plymouth North
A seven-loss state champion? Better believe it. I like the Eagles’ chances in any given year, to be honest.

DIVISION 3

North: Lynnfield
Or to put it more bluntly, I like any team from the Cape Ann League taking this field.

South: Coyle-Cassidy
Mac Curran gets most of the attention, but this is a squad that dominated the Eastern Athletic Conference, has won 10 of its last 11, and is among the state’s stingiest defenses (2 runs allowed per game). A potential semifinal matchup with Wareham is very intriguing.

Central: Maynard
Bryant University commit Mike Marshall has been as good as advertised for the Tigers, but he’s not alone. The Tigers have five starters batting over .375, led by Marshall, and will dole out ace righty Ben Chiasson, a Franklin Pierce commit who has been one of Central Mass.’s best (7-1, 51 IP, 83 K, 12 BB, 0.96 ERA).

West: Frontier
Frontier and Pioneer Valley (the top two seeds in this field) split the regular-season series, but I’m going to go with Frontier unseating the defending Division 3 runners-up. Quality bats in the Frontier lineup, let by Keith Spencer, Rylan Baronas and Niko Ames -– those three have a combined 64 RBI between them.

State Champion: Coyle-Cassidy
We could end up with a heck of a pitchers’ duel at Fitton Field if it’s Coyle’s Curran against Maynard’s Chiasson, but for now that’s just wishful thinking of course.

Andy Smith
Correspondent


Division 1 North: St. John’s Prep
Coach Pat Yanchus said Saturday his team isn’t hitting the way he’d like them to be going into the tournament, but they have enough strong pitching and defense to carry the bats if needed. Plus, given the way the bracket is laid out, it’s hard not to see Prep cruising to at least the semi-finals. I think they can win the final two games and take the North.

Division 1 South: Norwood
8-0 over its last 8 games. Call it a crazy pick, but I never bet against the Big Mo...mentum.

Division 1 Central: St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
Hard to find a team that has played as well as SJS has against against a schedule as tough as SJS had this season. I can’t see any team taking SJS down in this bracket. I think this is a state finals team.

Division 1 West: Springfield Cathedral
Cathedral went 18-2 and won four games all year by more than 3 runs. That type of experience with small deficits can only help in the playoffs, where most games are the tightly-contested, grind-it-out type.

Division 1 State Champion: St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
If I think long enough, I could talk myself into Prep winning D1, but SJS has been playing too well for too long for me to think someone will take them down in these playoffs.

Division 2 North: Danvers
The Falcons have outscored opponents 33-14 in the past five games. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say Saturday night’s 8-2 loss to St. John’s Prep was a reminder of the difficulties that lie ahead in the playoffs. I look for them to go all the way.

Division 2 South: Dennis-Yarmouth
Same rationale as D1 South: D-Y is 10-0 in its last 10 games. I’ll take the team with the most momentum going into the playoffs and feel good about it.

Division 2 Central: Northbridge
Important rule to follow: If you want to keep getting assignments, don’t bet against ESPNBoston.com Editor David Lefort's alma mater. Northbridge it is.

Division 2 State Champion: Northbridge over D-Y
I can’t see a team from the West making it to the state title game. Ultimately, I don’t think Danvers has enough pitching to make it to the finals. I’m taking Northbridge here because of nothing more than a gut feeling. I could very well be wrong here. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Division 3 North: Newburyport
They won Division 3 last season. Their longtime coach retired at the end of last year, but here they are again. This veteran team was two wins away from the No. 1 seed in this bracket. Give me the team that’s been there before. I trust them to do it again.

Division 3 South: Coyle-Cassidy
This bracket is Coyle's to lose. Two of its three losses this season came against Dartmouth, and that team isn’t in this bracket. C&C is an easy pick here.

Division 3 Central: Oxford
This team is capable of putting up a lot of runs when it needs to (scored double-digit runs eight times this season). I like teams with firepower, so I’m picking Oxford here.

Division 3 State Champion: Newburyport
For all the reasons mentioned in the bold prediction.

John Botelho
Staff Writer, Brockton Enterprise


South Section Champions:

Division 1: BC High
The offense has been top notch all season, and probably features more future NCAA D1 hitters than any lineup affiliated with the MIAA. Put metal bats in their hands after using wood all year, and the Eagles will bash their to a South crown.

Division 2: Oliver Ames
Hall of Fame coach Leo Duggan seems to have a knack for developing pitching. Ryan O'Shea, a Central Michigan commit who was supposed to be the staff ace, has thrown four innings this year because of a shoulder injury. The Tigers didn't miss a beat early and raced out to a commanding lead they never relinquished in the Hockomock League Davenport Division. Their path won't be an easy one, but David Holmes (4-0, 1.35 ERA) is as good as any pitcher in this sectional. If he beats Pembroke, one of the Tigers' younger pitchers will have to find a way to pitch OA past a very good Hingham team but this team is capable of playing with anyone, and comes into the tourney battle tested from Hockomock League play.

Division 3: East Bridgewater
The Vikings and Coyle & Cassidy will get a lot of play here, but E-B just seems to have the clearest bracket. Coyle will have to go through Apponequet or Rockland in the quarterfinals before squaring off with the likes of a string Wareham or Middleboro team just to reach the finals. The Warriors are loaded with pitching, led by Mac Curran and Donny May, who both sports sub-1.00 ERAs this year, but they have less room for error than East Bridgewater does. A match-up featuring these two teams in the final would be ideal, as they're probably the two most complete teams in this sectional.

State Champs

Div. 1: BC High beats Lowell in EMass final, then takes out Steve Moyers and East Longmeadow in the state title game.
Div. 2: Danvers beats Monument Mountain in state title game.
Div. 3: Lynnfield beats Pioneer Valley in state title game.

Video: Breaking down EMass Girls Finals

March, 14, 2012
3/14/12
1:10
AM ET
BOSTON -- ESPN Boston High Schools Editor Brendan Hall and correspondent Tom Layman break down the action from tonight's four MIAA Girls Basketball Eastern Mass. Finals, at TD Garden.

Video was shot and edited by correspondent Lucas Shapiro:


Div. 4 Girls Final: Fenway 58, GNB Voke 49

March, 13, 2012
3/13/12
7:17
PM ET
BOSTON -- Five-foot four-inch Kayla Cox may not look like Fenway's biggest player, but in the Division 4 championship yesterday the senior proved the most influential Panther on the court.

Leading her team in both rebounds and scoring, the scrappy Cox drove Fenway (19-3) to a 58-49 triumph over Greater New Bedford Voke (21-4) in her final game at the TD Garden yesterday.

“I have a lot of speed and a lot of up's,” said Cox. “I just try to stay focused and box out as much as possible. If I see an open ball on the rim, I am going to try to grab for it as much as possible.”

Cox netted 15 points for the Boston City League North champs, while grappling 10 rebounds. Teammate junior Tajanay Veiga also drained 13 points.

The Panthers trailed 45-39 with 4:05 left, but grabbed the lead back with eight consecutive points from sophomore Cadejia Matthews. Starting with an and-one opportunity, Matthews caught the defense offset for an open trey then stepped across the arc on the next play to nail a jumper for a 48-47 lead at 1:59.

A breakaway layup by freshman Nakira Examond nine seconds later was the Lady Bears' final score. Following a planted corner trey by freshman Lorena Escolero, Veiga helped seal the victory by turning four midcourt steals off the press into her teams final five points.

“(Matthews) will make a big shot when you ignore her,” said Fenway coach John Rice. “We just have to fight for every ball. We play a high level every game.”

Antoine On the Boards: Leading scorer Stephanie Antoine played a major role for GNB early by scoring 14 first half point, but was limited to only two points in the later half.

Moving the senior along the back line, the Lady Bears hit Antoine with aerial passes and allowed the 5'10” senior to shoot over her opponents. After jetting across the backboard for an open tip-in, the senior grabbed a half court steal for points to finish a 10-point run for GNB and put the Lady Bears up 24-20 at 1:45 in the second.

GNB out-rebounded Fenway 8-0 in the second quarter and held a 33-22 advantage overall.

“We have looked inside to Steph all season,” GNB coach Dave Harrison. “Underneath the basket she is really mobile. She keeps the ball up.”

Toss around Ross: The Panthers rushed back into the game by attacking GNB's zone with Jalissa Ross. Positioning the freshman at the top of the free throw line, Fenway used Ross' presence to work players behind the Fenway's zone.

After hitting a jumper from the corner of the foul line, Ross popped a layup attempt back out to teammate senior Chandlor Lyles for a jumper that sent Fenway into the final quarter tied at 37-37.

“She is a face-the-basket, 6-2” freshman,” said Fenway coach John Rice. “They just never wavered. The first practice I knew we had enough to win a championship.”

Highlights from Needham's OT boys soccer win

November, 9, 2011
11/09/11
11:44
PM ET
Correspondent James Walsh passes along highlights from tonight's thrilling Division 1 South quarterfinal between Needham and Silver Lake.

Needham pulled out the win in overtime, 2-1, with Mac Steves scoring the game-winning goal for the Rockets. They'll face No. 1 seed Greater New Bedford Voke on Friday at 2 p.m. in a semifinal at Medway High.

Case takes big step toward SCC title

May, 16, 2011
5/16/11
10:06
PM ET


NORTH DIGHTON, Mass. -- The South Coast Conference softball race is far from over, but the landscape became a little clearer through Monday’s raindrops at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional.

As is customary, the path to the SCC title goes through the Falcons.

But Case, the reigning Division 3 South champions, has shown it is again among the area’s top programs, joining the logjam that includes D-R, Greater New Bedford Voke and Fairhaven atop the standings. And the Cardinals made yet another point to affirm their place among the elite with a 5-2 win—their second of the season over D-R.

“They’re three-time reigning SCC champions,” Case head coach Norm Beauchemin exclaimed. “So yeah, this is big.”

Case (11-4, 10-2 SCC) pitcher Shannon Orton threw a complete-game four-hitter to take the win while striking out six. However, the victory didn’t come without complications as the Falcons (11-4, 10-3) loaded the bases in both the sixth and seventh innings, but were shut out.

“My catcher [Hailey Thibault] did a really great job calling the game today,” Orton said. “She did a really good job mixing the pitches, which makes a big difference.”

The Cardinals flew out to a 4-0 lead in the third. Ally Santerre put Case on the board with an RBI double to left. Danielle Medeiros followed with a sacrifice fly and Kadie Sullivan drove the Cardinals’ third run on a fielder’s choice. Orton capped the frame with a run-scoring two-out double.

Case struck again in the fifth with an unearned run against D-R starter Jill Rocha.

“We just didn’t play well enough to win today,” Falcons head coach Dave Driscoll said. “By my count, we gave them six extra outs during the game. You can’t do that against a team like Case.”

Catcher Nicole Lundstrom accounted for D-R’s offensive output with a two-run single in the fourth.

After earning their second win over the Falcons, the Cardinals hold a half-game lead on D-R in the SCC standings. Still, the league title is a long way from being decided as Case has two games to play against Fairhaven in the final two weeks of the regular season.

The Cardinals last won the SCC title in 2007, the year before D-R made its most recent run.

“These wins against D-R are huge,” Orton said. “They’re a good team, they’re always a challenge for us. To win two over them, it boosts us a lot. We’ve already made the tournament, so we know that, but the wins against them takes us into the next couple games.”

Cohasset boys, Hull girls win D4 South

March, 12, 2011
3/12/11
4:39
PM ET
BOSTON -- Cohasset boys’ basketball coach Bo Ruggiero didn’t mince words at halftime, with his team down 28-24 to Boston Cathedral.

“I said, ‘We’re not playing well. We’re shooting the ball poorly. Sam Richardson and Robert Jones, our two mainstays for three years, are playing terrible.’” relayed Ruggiero.

Those two players responded as Cohasset matched the thunder provided from the Skippers fans to storm back on the court, overcoming a six-point fourth quarter deficit to take a close contest, 65-64 to win the MIAA Division 4 Boys’ South Sectional Championship.

“This is a gutsy group of kids,” said Ruggiero. “My guys, who are supposed to be the players, became the players. We got a great effort from our five.”

It took some hot hands to spark the comeback, with guard Sam Richardson scoring 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting in the third quarter, keeping Cohasset (22-2) close.

Richardson gave way to the point guard Jones, who hit a perfect 5-for-5 field goals, including four 3-pointers as the trump card in the comeback Cohasset win. Those shooting performances were looked at a responsibility for Jones and Richardson.

“I didn’t really have an option with what I had to do,” said the senior co-captain Richardson. “I played lousy in the first half. I wanted to win.”

“We had some discussions at halftime and came out in the second half and ran a more disciplined offense, which ended up getting us more quality shots,” said Ruggiero. “When you take bad shots and throw the ball away like we were in the first half, they (score) quickly.”

Cathedral (20-4) demonstrated its athleticism from the start, punctuated by Kyle Lawyer’s dunk just a few minutes into the contest, part of his 17-point effort. Forward Joe Green led all scorers with 23 while 5-foot-3 point guard Carlos Bermudez (perhaps a generous height listing), pushed the tempo with 17 of his own, accenting six steals as a thorn in the Skippers’ side.

“You can’t press little shorty (Bermudez). He’s just way too good of a player,” said Ruggiero, who switched defenses from a trap, to man-to-man and back to his base 1-2-2. “Our mixing and matching of the defenses kept the game in reach.”

Adding to the early adversity was Kyrel Jaundoo’s four first half fouls. He brought down ten first half rebounds and was a defensive standout for Cohasset. Rather than curtail his high-energy game, Jaundoo kept the pace high as Ruggiero rolled the dice by starting him in the second half.

“We’re not in that game without Kyrel Jaundoo,” said Ruggiero. “There was no way we were going to win that game without his presence. He’s a tremendous athlete. He’s come a long way. He is a major reason why we were even around early in that game.”
Jaundoo never did foul out, as he and junior Robbie Mahoney muscled their way to double-double performances.

The exclamation point came as Jones nailed a three-pointer while falling down, boosting the Cohasset lead to 63-59 with 15 seconds to go, a shot he didn’t realize found the twine.

“I thought I bricked it,” he said. “I fell down and tried to sell the foul. Sometimes they fall I guess. (That was) all luck.”

Bermudez spotted-up for a three at the top of the arch to close the gap to 63-62. Richardson was intentionally fouled, hitting both shots to increase the lead back to three points. With fouls to give, Cohasset took the clock down to 4.3 seconds. Bermudez heaved a three in pressure, which failed to catch iron. Green put the chance home, but Cathedral came up one point short.

Now, Cohasset will try its hand at a state title at the T.D. Garden, a place Ruggiero hasn’t coached in since the 1974-75 season, as a member of the Medfield coaching staff.

“Everything that’s in the past is in the past,” said the coach. “The present is right now, enjoying this game. The future is Tuesday.”
Asked what the present felt like for Richardson as he clutched the trophy after the game, he went through the spectrum of emotion.

“I’m jittery. I’m everything. I’m pumped,” he said. “No one ever thought we be here. Proving (we could get here) is one thing and actually (winning it) is another. It’s awesome.”

HULL 50, GREATER NEW BEDFORD 38

Jumping out to a 13-2 to run, Hull’s early start foreshadowed the team’s later jumps for joy, winning the MIAA Division 4 Girls’ Basketball South Sectional Championship over Greater New Bedford, 50-38.

The Pirates (15-10) received balanced scoring and rebounding, dominating in the paint throughout. Nicole Heavern and Amy McDonald each netted 13 points, with Lauren Geary’s 12 not far behind.

Hull’s early run opened up a 13-2 advantage, but the Lady Bears (15-7) chipped away, thorough transition offense and Vanessa Conceicao’s drives to the hoop, leading all scorers with 16 points. But the Greater New Bedford offensive never got too comfortable, as the Pirates opened in a full court press and never allowed much room to breathe.

“We’re an in your face defense,” said Hull coach Elizabeth Londergan. “We’re going to be in your face all game. So, get ready for it. Defense wins championships. Now we’re the champs.”

The Pirates led 27-16 at the half, but received more good news when Lady Bears’ forward Stephanie Antoine fouled out in the third quarter. Without one of its best defenders and toughest interior players, Hull swept the offensive boards clean, out-rebounding the Lady Bears, 48-29, led by Katie Manning’s 12 rebounds.

Entering the fourth quarter down 40-27, Hull needed just two field goals (part of 10 points in the quarter) to keep Greater New Bedford at bay.

The win was a triumph in more ways than one for Hull, which opened the school year with no budget for the team, getting the necessary $240,000 by holding yard sales, bake sales, anything to raise the money.

“It’s really good for the town of Hull because the last two years we’ve had no budget,” said Londergan. “We’re thanking the boosters, the AD and all the parents who continue to work hard so these girls can have a chance. Without them, we wouldn’t even be here. We’d be not playing.”

Now, they’ll continue playing in hopes of a state championship. The game plan will be the same for that game as it has been for every other contest throughout the season. In the Pirates’ locker room, a “Little Things” poster is on display, with items written on it from members of the team. The poster includes little things like diving on the floor and making free throws. Londergan said if the team followed the poster, they’d be playing in the T.D. Garden.

“I don’t think they believed me,” she said with a smile.

Breaking down the MIAA soccer tournaments

November, 5, 2010
11/05/10
10:41
AM ET
The seedings for the Boys and Girls 2010 MIAA Soccer Tournament were announced on Thursday afternoon, and with teams getting seeded base solely on their winning percentage, this tournament set up to be one of the most exciting in high school sports.

BOYS' BRACKETS:
D-I North
In 2009, Lexington came in as a No. 2 seed and Lincoln-Sudbury as a No. 5 seed, when they met in the North Sectional finals with Lexington winning 2-1 on penalty kicks.

In 2010, the Minutemen and the Warriors find themselves again ranked second and fifth, and both teams have the ability to win this section. Lexington finished No.1 on ESPNBoston’s final boys' poll and they score as a team with six players having scored four or more goals this season. Jordan Vanderhooft leads that group with eight markers.

Lincoln-Sudbury finished the season 13-2-1(No. 10 on ESPNBoston) and they have Cole DeNormandie up top who can change a game on his own.

Boston City League Champs Madison Park (No. 15 on ESPNBoston) grabbed the top seed in this section with a 14-0-1 regular season record and could pay ninth-seeded Greater Boston League Champs Medford (No. 20 on ESPNBoston) in one of this section’s quarterfinals.

D-I South
New Bedford (No. 3 on ESPNBoston) and Greater New Bedford are the top two seeds in this section, and for the record the New Bedford won the regular season local derby 3-0. The Big Three Conference flexes it’s muscles with Brockton (No. 4 on ESPNBoston) getting the third seed. But the Bay State Conference put three teams in the top 10 seeding in this section with Walpole at No. 5 (No. 13 on ESPNBoston), Weymouth at No. 6 (No. 11 on ESPNBoston) and Wellesley at No. 10.

The most interesting, potential quarterfinal would be if Brockton met Weymouth. The Boxers have scored three or more goals in nine of their 18 games, while the Wildcats have kept 12 clean sheets though 20 matches. Their first choice keeper Scott Greenwood is just a sophomore. Two other sophomores’ in this section to keep an eye on are Needham’s Mac Steeves, who scored 15 goals to improve on the eight he scored as a freshman, and Attleboro’s Dominik Machado, who is a member of the Revolution U-16 Academy.

D-I Central

The Algonquin Tomahawks (No. 7 on ESPNBoston) have been the class of Central Mass all season long and got the No. 1 seed. But No. 2 seed Leominster handed Algonquin one of their two losses on October 26, in a 1-0 game. The only way they could meet in the post season would be in the Central Final.

D-I West
Ludlow (No. 8 on ESPNBoston) has won three Western Sectional Finals in a row and come in as the top seed, but Amherst, the No. 2 seed, may have a say in who represents the West this year. Amherst finished above the Lions in the Smith Division this year even though Ludlow defeated and drew with the Hurricanes in their two regular season meetings. Chris Pereira has 25 points (15 goals, 10 assists.) through 18 games for Ludlow and is the marquee man in this section.

D-II North

The defending champs, Concord-Carlisle (No. 3 on ESPNBoston) come in as a No. 2 seed this year and appear in the tournament for the 26th season in a row. Senior tri-captain Cam McGrory is perhaps the most complete goalkeeper in the state and Ray Pavlik’s team will be well-tested having dropped only three points all season in the Dual County League, which is arguably the toughest in Massachusetts.

But the No. 1 seed in the section goes to the undefeated Winchester Sachems (No.6 on ESPNBoston), who won the Middlesex and have only two draws all season, both to Lexington. Their defense is full of confidence having allowed just one goal in their last six matches. And up top Ryan Connolly and Ben Davis have 27 goals between them.

D-II South
This section features two undefeated teams, No. 1 seed Sandwich (No. 5 on ESPNBoston) and No. 2 seed Canton (No. 9 on ESPNBoston) and they both seem to have an easy road to the finals, but looks can be deceiving.

Sandwich had only two draws all year, and learned an important lesson after squandering a four-goal lead to Marshfield in mid October. The Blue Knights didn’t allow a goal in five of their next seven matches. The Canton Bulldogs finished the season undefeated for the only time in the programs 28 years.

No. 4 seed Bishop Feehan has won nine of it’s last 10 and could potentially play Tri-Valley Champions Medfield (No. 19 on ESPNBoston) in the quarterfinals. The Warriors have a goal difference of plus-30 entering the tournament.

D-III Overview
There could very well be a re-match of the 2009 State Semi-Finals.

In D-III North, keep an eye on Weston, who is just the 11th seed at 7-6-3, but they will be ready for to make another run to the state finals after a tough regular season in the Dual County League, where they registered a 1-0 over Lincoln-Sudbury.

In D-III South, Cardinal Spellman finished the season 18-2 and it will take a major upset to stop them from getting to the state level.

GIRLS' BRACKETS:
D-I North
This bracket is unpredictable to say the least, which make the most exciting.

Top-seeded Peabody (No. 3 on ESPNBoston) handed fifth seeded Acton-Boxborough (No. 5 on ESPNBoston) their first regular season loss since 2006 on opening day. A-B ended up losing two games in 2010 -- their only other loss coming to No. 22 seed Lincoln-Sudbury. The two teams could have a rematch if they each reach the semifinals. Colonials goaltender Jessie Wiggins only allowed four goals in 17 games, but the Tanners strike force of Hayley Dowd and Victoria Digiacomo is a tough one-two punch.

On the other side of the bracket, No. 2 seed Masconomet (No. 13 on ESPNBoston) lost just once all year -- to No. 21 seed Andover. They have a scoring trio of Gabby Russo, Hannah Nekoroski, and Amy Griffiths making it tough to focus on just one player. No. 3 seed Central Catholic hasn’t been scored upon in their last seven matches, a nice run to be on heading into the tournament.

D-I South
Whitman-Hanson (No. 1 on ESPNBoston) finished the season undefeated and UCLA-bound Samantha Mewis is the most talented player in the state and also member of the USA Women’s U-20 team. It will be tough for any team in D-1 South to stop the Panthers.

Bishop Feehan lost only one game all season, and it was to an out-of-state opponent. The Shamrocks will most likely play the winner of No. 7 seed Needham (No. 16 on ESPNBoston) versus No. 10 seed Brockton (No. 10 on ESPNBoston), which will be the most interesting matchup of the first round. The Rockets have the second lowest goals against average in Division I at 0.5 and only Whitman-Hanson And Acton-Boxborough are better. Goalkeeper Victoria Tarabelli and senior defender Courtney Steeves will have their work cut out for them against the Boxers forward Morgan Branco.

D-I Central & West
These regions are also wide open. Nashoba and Wachusett look destined to meet each other in one semifinal, while Algonquin and Shrewsbury look ready for the other semi. It will be interesting to see if the Tomahawks can get out of the Central and defend their state title.

In the West, it’s Minnechaug’s title to lose. Lauren MacLellan is a tough forward to contain.

D-II North
Look for Belmont’s playermaker Katie O’Brien to set up Lauren Thurber as the top-seeded Marauders look ready to make a deep tournament run. Danvers is the No. 2 seed and had impressive regular season wins over Peabody and Central Catholic. But they also lost to No. 4 seed Bishop Fenwick, so the D-II North title is there for the taking.

D-II South
East Bridgewater is the top seed with a 16-2-0 regular season record. But don’t overlook No. 5 seed Cardinal Spellman, the defending D-II champions will no doubt be out to defend their title.

D-III Overview
Shawsheen (No. 20 on ESPNBoston) earned the top seed in D-III North and Nantucket earning the top seed in the South with a perfect 18-0-0 record. Bromfield earned the top seed in the Central and Gateway earned the top seed out West. And with defending D-3 Champion Millis not qualifying for the tournament this year, there will be a new D-III state champion crowned.

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