Boston High School: Jeff Newhall

Recap: No. 9 St. Mary's 64, No. 2 Medfield 56

February, 12, 2014
Feb 12
LYNN, Mass. -– As a coach, there are good wins and then there are special wins.

Wednesday night was one of those special wins for No. 9 St. Mary’s coach Jeff Newhall and the Spartans program as they topped undefeated and No. 2 ranked Medfield 64-56. It was Medfield’s first loss in 24 games, a streak that started Feb. 19, 2013.

“It’s a great opponent, they are a great team, a championship team,” Newhall said. “They haven’t lost a game in a year. I think tonight is more about the St. Mary’s basketball program and what we’ve built here over the number of years our players have been here. To be able to have a team like Medfield want to travel and come here and play us non-league and then be able to beat them.

“I think we are a very good basketball team, we’ve only lost four times in the last two years. We’re coming off a loss Friday night, and we played with a real sense of urgency tonight that we didn’t have Friday.”

It was that sense of urgency that carried the Spartans to a 13-4 run midway through the third quarter to open up what was a three-point game at the break. Medfield did close the gap at the end of the third, but St. Mary’s built a 46-37 lead entering the fourth quarter.

“We said at the half we should have been ahead by more than three,” Newhall said. “We thought we missed a lot of easy shots. We allowed them to get a lot of second chance points so at the half we said this is a matter of finishing our shots and not allowing second chance points. We basically said this quarter is a three-point game, they are either going to tie you or take the lead, or you guys are going to get it to ten and we got it to ten.”

As expected, Medfield didn’t go down without a fight. Trailing 56-43 with just under four minutes remaining, they went on a 11-2 run to cut the deficit to four, 58-54 with less than a minute remaining. But a clutch runner in the lane from senior Brianna Rudolph, with the shot clock winding down, gave the home team a six-point lead with 30 seconds left, sealing the win.

Rudolph led the Spartans with a game-high 26 points, followed by senior Sharell Sanders who had 16, while senior Jennie Mucciarone added nine.

“I know [Rudolph] had 26 points, but we were more concerned with [Mucciarone] coming in and they both are outstanding players. Their point guard is very good too,” Medfield coach Mark Nickerson said.

Medfield was led by junior forward Payton Ouimette who also posted 26 points, while senior forward Kristin Fechtelkotter and senior guard Lauren Petit added 14 and 13 points respectively.

Even though the Warriors suffered their first loss in just about a year, it is a game they can learn from and potentially turn into a positive come tournament time.

“It’s good experience for us because we need to compete with teams like this, but I was proud of the way we battled back in the fourth quarter and made a game of it,” Nickerson said. “To their credit, very well coached and very well prepared.”

St. Mary’s will now look to wrap up the league crown with a win over Austin Prep later this week.

Playing short-handed: St. Mary’s was forced to only play seven players and dress only eight because of an injury to sophomore forward Gianna Moschella, but the Spartans showed no signs of being a tired team, especially with three senior guards playing the entire game.

“We didn’t go very deep tonight,” Newhall said. “You have three senior guards (Sanders, Rudolph and Mucciarone) and they have a history of winning. You use your timeouts sparingly and in a game like this they want to be on the floor and we need them on the floor. Quite frankly there is no reason for me to take them out.”

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.”

St. Mary's Durgin records 100th win

September, 12, 2011
Paul Halloran sends along this note regarding St. Mary's head football coach Matt Durgin and his recent milestone win:

When St. Mary’s shut out Cambridge, 35-0, at Manning Field Saturday night, the victory was significant for a reason other than it marked the opening of the 2011 season: Coach Matt Durgin recorded his 100th career win.

Durgin, who is in his 15th season as a head coach, is 100-52, a .658 winning percentage. In his fourth year at St. Mary’s, Durgin is 23-11 with the Spartans. He went 72-35 in 10 seasons at Lynn Classical (1997-2003 and 2005-07) and 5-6 in one year at Malden Catholic (2004).

“I’ve been fortunate to have some great athletes play for me over the years,” said Durgin, who also serves as game director of the Agganis All-Star Football Classic.

St. Mary’s Athletic Director Jeff Newhall said it’s no accident that Durgin has built a winning program at two schools.

“Matt was 1-10 in his first year at Classical, then two years later he had back-to-back 10-1 seasons,” said Newhall, who served as an assistant under Durgin at Classical. “With us, the record has gone from 5-6 to 7-4 to 10-1. That’s the sign of a great coach.”

St. Mary’s Head of School Dr. Raymond A. Bastarache said the school is lucky to have Durgin – and not just because of the winning record.

“I have seen firsthand what a positive influence Matt has had in the lives of his players at Classical and now at St. Mary’s,” said Bastarache, a former deputy superintendent in Lynn Public Schools. “He combines coaching excellence with being an outstanding role model for our student-athletes.”

Durgin’s connections to St. Mary’s runs deep: his sister, Michele, is dean of students; his two daughters, Molly and Mattie, are students. His uncle, Walter, is a volunteer at the school; and Newhall is his cousin.

“This is a perfect situation for me,” he said. “I feel extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to coach here.”

St. Mary's rolls to D3 state title

March, 19, 2011

WORCESTER, Mass. -- St. Mary’s captured their fist Division 3 State championship on Saturday with a 64-54 win over Lee High School, taking home its first state title since winning Division 4 in 2002.

Spartans seniors Cassi Amenta (16 points, five rebounds) and Tori Faieta (12 points, 11 rebounds, five assists) established their inside game early and the Spartans came away with a 10 point victory.

“We knew coming in that we had to get the ball inside," St. Mary’s head coach Jeff Newhall said of his team’s game plan. “Cassi and Tori played really well in there, and Kristen (Ferrari) gave us some balance up top.”

“This trophy doesn’t just symbolize this one win, it’s a culmination of all the hard work," Faieta said of the work her team put in this season, “It feels really good. I haven’t really processed it yet.”

St. Mary’s (24-4) came out on an 8-2 run to open the game and had a 15-9 lead after the first quarter thanks to six early points from Amenta.

“We knew we had a height advantage, so we just made sure we stay with our girl and get our high low passes," Amenta said. “The guards did such a good job, Kirsten (Ferrari) is an amazing point guard. She did really good to deal with the pressure, and the freshmen that came in did an unbelievable job.”

Lee (24-2) started the second quarter second on a 7-2, while the Spartans had Faieta on the bench. But once she made her return to the floor, the game tilted back in the Spartans favor with 6-foot-2 senior controlling the offense with six points and four assists in the half for a 33-20 Spartans lead at halftime.

The game seemed out of reach for Lee, with a 55-36 Spartans lead with 5:36 left in regulation. But the Wildcats kept their press going strong and with 41 seconds remaining they had cut it to an eight point game. Ferrari (16 points, 5 assists), a senior guard, hit four clutch free throws down the stretch to seal the game as St. Mary’s held on for the victory.

“I think we wore them out in the third quarter and fourth, but you can’t beat the height.” Lee head coach Gary Wellington said. “But our kids are not going to quit, we knew the task at hand, we knew St. Mary’s was a great team, a great group of kids, and this was their time. If we were going to take it from them we had to do all the little things right”

Sophomores Eileen Dooley and Stephanie Young had 14 points each to lead the Lee Wildcats in scoring. Dooley also added seven steals on the day.

“Eileen played her heart out, she’s got two more years, you’re going to hear a lot from her, she’s a kid that doesn’t have quit in her bones.” Wellington said of his 5-foot-2 guard.

“The thing that’s kind of been common for us the last three games is we have a lead, and then at the end of the game when the other team is in desperation mode, we haven’t really slowed down as much as I’ve wanted to” Newhall said of Lee’s late surge. “I think Lee deserves a tremendous amount of credit, to get back to this point from where they were, state champs a year ago, and lose their best five games in and come back to the State Championship Game and play the way they did, they deserve a lot of credit too.”

St. Mary's fends off Coyle, moves to D3 state final

March, 14, 2011

BOSTON –- For a moment, Coyle-Cassidy appeared ready to extend the MIAA Division 3 State semi-finals with St. Mary’s of Lynn to overtime, but Warriors senior guard Brenna Gonsalves’s half court shot with three seconds left sailed away from the rim and allowed the Spartans to walk off the TD Garden parquet with a 53-50 victory.

“I think Coyle-Cassidy is an excellent team and Brenna [Gonsalves] is a tremendous player, but in that fourth quarter again, it looked like we had them and we can’t break press, which we’ve done all year, but we had just enough to get [the win],” said St. Mary’s head coach Jeff Newhall.

“The kids fought [until] the end. We didn’t shoot that well today,” said Coyle head coach Mike O’Brien. “We can’t say anything about the heart about these kids. They were down by nine came back and we were probably about 10-seconds short.”

The Spartans scored early and often once the game began with an 8-0 run. Although, the Warriors would respond from their slow start, as Gonsalves led Coyle with nine points while junior guard Missy Perry who added four points during the second quarter. Yet, the slow start kept allowing St. Mary’s to build the lead and score easy baskets in the paint.

St. Mary’s kept adding points during the second quarter, but watched their largest lead of the period, 19-12 turn into 22-19 lead at halftime. The Warriors also did a tremendous job at defending Gonsalves and provided a great deal of pressure to their offense.

“We talked about, specifically Gonsalves, trying to give that one shot hopefully no shots. I thought Tori [Faieta] and Cassi [Amenta] were very effective on the boards and Ann Marie [Idusuyi] when she was in there thought played excellent as well,” said Newhall. “I thought for the most part, the idea was to try and slow Gonsalves down first and foremost”

“I think we just got going a little too late this time,” said Gonsalves.

Entering the third quarter, the Warriors took off with the lead, as they added an additional 15 points thanks to Amenta and freshman guard Jennie Mucciarone, who helped their team begin the second half by converting their first four field goals in a row.

Yet, the size of St. Mary’s continued to force Coyle to literally only one shot on their various offensive series.

“I think it bothered us a little bit,” said Gonsalves. “We’ve played teams this size like that and somehow we just didn’t adjust to well.”

Although, the Warriors eventually put together a late rally during the final few minutes of the fourth quarter that featured 13 points from Gonsalves and six points from Perry.

However, with time against them, Coyle & Cassidy started committing fouls and watched their state championship dreams slowly drift away, as St. Mary’s connected on [8-10] free throws during the fourth quarter and a majority of those points came on behalf of Amenta, who converted four points from the line.

“It’s a senior moment, but Cassi goes to the line [and goes] four for four at the Boston Garden with people streamlining and yelling and that’s how you get to this point,” said Newhall.

With the win, St. Mary’s will play their biggest game of the season at the DCU Center in Worcester on Saturday March 19.

“Everyone left it out on the court, everyone played with heart again,” said Gonsalves. “Its now how we wanted it to end, but we have a lot to be proud of this year, couldn’t ask for anything more.”

St. Mary's downs Stoneham for D3 North title

March, 13, 2011

LOWELL, Mass. -- St. Mary’s (22-4) scored a 65-53 victory over top-seeded Stoneham (19-4) on Saturday in the Div. 3 North final at the Tsongas Center.

The 12-point margin of victory, coupled with a lead of 20 at one point in the first half, could have qualified for a comfortable win. Unless of course you are No. 2 St. Mary’s head coach Jeff Newhall.

“That was the most uncomfortable game that I think I’ve coached all year,” said Newhall, whose team will move on to face Coyle & Cassidy in the state semifinals on Monday at the TD Garden. “Even in the fourth quarter, up 19, it’s just a credit to Stoneham.”

There were times when Newhall could have felt a little uneasy about trying to grab the first Div. 3 North title for St. Mary’s. After dominating the first quarter, which included a 14-2 run to start the game, things started to unravel towards the end of the second.

St. Mary’s grabbed a 20-point lead when freshman Brianna Rudolph (seven points) blocked a shot and scored on a pull-up on the other end with 3:24 left to go in the second quarter.

After the timeout, St. Mary’s got caught out of position several times on defense and started committing fouls. When Stoneham got to the line in the penalty it capitalized with nine straight successful free throws at one point.

That ability to score point also allowed Stoneham to set up a full-court press, which worked well against a team that features three freshman who play big minutes. Stoneham went on a 17-6 run to end the half, highlighted by a NBA-range 3-pointer from Vanessa Bramante to go in to the half down, 37-28.

“In our locker room it was quiet and we had long faces,” said Newhall. “I thought we were in trouble.”

But the time to cool off did more help for St. Mary’s than it did for Stoneham. Kirsten Ferrarri opened the third with a trey and Jennie Mucciarone added two more to fuel an 11-0 run to push the lead back up to 20 in an instant.

“We went from a mind set of that we were up 20 and we are definitely going to win. To halftime we are up nine and could be in trouble. To alright we got the momentum back, but it was never a comfortable game,” said Newhall.

Stoneham was able to make a few runs the rest of the way home, but those back-breaking 3’s came back to haunt the top-seeded team.

“They went on the run and I’m sure it hurt the girls a little bit,” said Stoneham head coach Angela Billings.

Bramante was a big part of the comeback in the first half for Stoneham as she scored 14 points in the first half. But Newhall had a little wrinkle up his sleeve, as he switched Cassi Amenta on to Stoneham’s high-scorer.

The strategy worked.

Bramante was held to two points in the second half, while Amenta finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.

“(Amenta) was tremendous in the second half, she played great defense,” said Newhall.