Boston High School: Jennie Mucciarone

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

February, 12, 2014
Feb 12
11:18
PM ET
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. 3 Archies 59. No. 4 St. Mary's (Lynn) 40

January, 13, 2013
1/13/13
2:27
AM ET
BOSTON -– Archbishop Williams moved into sole possession of first place in the Catholic Central Large as they defeated league rival St. Mary’s of Lynn 59-40 at Emmanuel College on Saturday night.

Defense and rebounding proved to be the key factors in the second half as the Bishops attacked the offensive glass and used a menacing full-court press to extend the lead in the latter part of the game.

“Our offense is not really clicking as well as it should,” Archbishop Williams head coach Jim Bancroft said after the game. “We are relying on getting some easy hoops off of steals and off of our pressure.”

Leading 28-20 at the half, Archies (6-3) used their full-court press to give St. Mary’s (8-1) trouble and force multiple turnovers. The Bishops outscored St. Mary’s 17-6 in the third to take a commanding 45-26 to the final quarter of play.

The 1-2-1-1 full-court press has become a major asset for the Bishops, who use the pressure defense to their advantage in their confined home-court gym in Braintree.

“It works good in our gym, and in the Catholic Central League a lot of the gyms are real small, so our zone press works really well,” Bancroft said. “Coming in here I was not t sure. We tried it in New Jersey on a couple of bigger courts and struggled with it, but we worked on it in practice and I thought they did a good job.”

The Bishops also controlled the paint and the glass as sophomore forward Alana Gilmer (15 points, eight rebounds, two blocks), junior forward Olivia Conrad (nine points) and 6-foot-3 sophomore center Jaylen Williams (four points, seven rebounds, three blocks) made it difficult for St. Mary’s to earn anything close to the basket.

“We are taller than most teams so we are starting to get used it,” Gilmer said. “We have really worked on getting a body on our player and then go for the ball.”

The Bishops also received strong efforts from their starting backcourt of senior shooting guard Sara Ryan (10 points, five assists) and junior point guard Leah Spencer (nine points, four steals).

St. Mary’s was led by junior point guard Sharell Sanders, who scored 14 of her game-high 18 points in the opening half. The diminutive guard was even more impressive on the glass as she pulled down a team-high nine rebounds to go along with six steals.
Junior guard Jennie Mucciarone (eight points, four steals) and senior Emily Doyle (seven points) both had strong fourth quarters for St. Mary’s.

Early Season Victories: Despite dropping all three out-of-state contests to Blair Academy (N.J.), Nazareth (N.Y.), and La Salle Academy (R.I.), the Bishops have picked up pivotal early season league wins.

On Tuesday night, Archies defeated Arlington Catholic, 60-41, and are now 5-0 in Catholic Central Large play after tonight’s win.

“All of these early wins are very important for us,” Gilmer added. “We want to be number one in the league and these games help us with our goal.”

Match-up Nightmare: The 6-foot Gilmer proved that she has the complete offensive package as she scored from inside the paint and also from the perimeter. Her versatility and athleticism create a match-up nightmare for opposing teams.

One of the premier players in the Class of 2015, Gilmer showed why she has Division 1 suitors in hot pursuit as her improved game and vast skill sets are unique in Massachusetts’ girls basketball scene.

“Up through her freshman year in high school everyone played her as a post player,” Bancroft added. “Last year we turned her around and faced her up and that is where she is going to end up playing at in college. She has become stronger and her foot speed is better now. Her ability to face-up along with her ability to play with her back to the basket makes her tough to cover.”

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

March, 14, 2011
3/14/11
8:12
PM ET



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
3/13/11
12:31
AM ET



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.

SPONSORED HEADLINES