Boston High School: Rita Atkinson

AC mounts amazing comeback to take D2 EMass

March, 14, 2011

BOSTON -- Dave Brady was willing to use all five of his timeouts in the first half to try and snap his team out of an early funk in the Div. 2 Eastern Mass. semifinals on Monday night at the TD Garden.

Apparently he only needed three.

Arlington Catholic (20-6) finally got the message and overcame a 16-point first half deficit with a furious run in the second quarter to eliminate Hopkinton, 65-57. The Cougars will now move on to the state finals on Saturday at the DCU Center in Worcester to play the winner of Millbury and Wahconah.

“The third timeout was them saying this is enough,” Brady said. “There was plenty of time and let’s just go out there and do what we do.”

The Cougars stopped settling for outside jumpers, which didn’t work in the first quarter as they launched seven three’s and only made one of them, and started penetrating the interior of the much bigger frontcourt of the Hillers (19-6).

Emma Roberson led the way with a team-high 25 points, and her ability to get in the lane and dish to open players was a key factor in the run.

“We weren’t attacking their zone, so they weren’t having to move at all to play defense,” said Roberson. “We couldn’t get any shots, so being able to penetrate and open up our shooters on the outside and even get them in foul trouble too definitely changed the game a lot.”

The Cougars went on a 23-4 run after falling behind by 16 points with 6:09 left in the second quarter, and they finally grabbed their first lead, 32-31, on a last-second deep ball from Nicole Catizone before the half.

The offensive flurry was spurred by a change in the defensive system for the Cougars. They went from a zone press to a man-to-man pressure, which probably wasn’t the game plan coming in to the game, because of the height advantage the Hillers held at every position. The Hillers shots a blistering 9-of-11 in the first quarter from the field, but came back down to earth with a 13-for-30 showing in the final three quarters.

The 5-foot-3-inch Erin Nee harassed every single ball-handler who made their way up the court and the Hillers didn’t respond well to that pressure.

“They played really physical and the referees let them play physical,” said Hopkinton head coach Rita Atkinson. “I really think that was the turning point.”

The game of runs turned in to a back-and-forth contest for most of the second half. There were 12 lead changes in the third quarter alone, and two in the opening moments of the fourth quarter.

Two free throws from Alee Leteria (26 points) gave the Hillers a 55-54 lead in the fourth, but the Cougars would used a dominating 11-2 stretch to close out the game. Roberson finished with eight points in the fourth quarter, and hit several clutch free throws to keep the Cougars ahead for good.

“All game I just did my routine and didn’t think anything differently,” said Roberson, who finished 9-of-12 from the line. “I just kind of kept the crowd out of my mind and just treated it like it was any other free throw in any other game.”

Hopkinton girls win thriller to take D2 South

March, 13, 2011
BOSTON –- With just 15 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and the score tied, 50-50, Hopkinton sophomore guard Tess Chandler received the inbounds pass and scored the game winning basket on a layup, as the Hillers edged out Scituate, 52-50 in the Division 2 South Championship at UMass-Boston's Clark Athletic Center.

“After the game, Eric Karjel my Athletic Director came up to me and said, hallelujah for Tess for finishing that off and winning the game,” said Hopkinton head coach Rita Atkinson.

The winning basket was something special for Chandler, who finished the game with just four points, since she struggled immensely from the free throw line (2-10), but having the ball in her hands to score the game winner clearly fooled the entire Scituate coaching staff.

“We thought it be going to [Lindsey Doucette] or [Alee Leteria] and [Chandler] made the hoop,” said Scituate head coach Brian Buckley. “You have to give the coaching staff a lot of credit because that was a terrific inbounds play.”

Starting off somewhat slow, Hopkinton rebounded after a quick 4-0 run by the Lady Sailors, but responded with a 16-2 run of their own and majority of those baskets came on behalf of senior guard Katie Sousa, who knocked down three three-pointers in a row.

Hopkinton continued to add to their lead in the second quarter, but turnovers and missed shots denied their chances to pull away with a larger lead before halftime. Scituate did score 14-points during the second quarter, as sophomore guard Kelly Martin tallied nine points.

“I told the kids at halftime we have to keep the pressure on pushing the ball,” said Atkinson.

During the beginning of the final two quarters and leading the Lady Sailors, 33-24, Hopkinton started to struggle to produce points and keep the pressure on Scituate, but constant turnovers kept the game at a standstill for nearly four minutes.

However, their various turnovers did not end up hurting the Hillers, but instead, allowed Scituate to pull closer to Hopkinton, as Martin provided the much-needed spark to her team by tallying five points and senior forward Megan Otto to supplemented her efforts with five points during the third quarter.

Scituate eventually tied the game during the final seconds, as the Lady Sailors outscored the Hillers during the final quarter, 17-13. A major reason that the Hillers were unable to add a few additional points during the final eight minutes was because of their poor free-throw shooting, as Hopkinton connected on just [6 of

Although, Hopkinton eventually drew up the game winner, which allowed Chandler to guarantee that the Hillers would indeed walk out of the University of Massachusetts gymnasium with the MIAA Division 2 South championship, as well as continue their exciting playoff run by earning a trip to the TD Garden.

D3 Boys: Cardinal Spellman 51, Medway 45

Cardinal Spellman tallied 29-points during the second half and eventually pulled away from Medway, as the Cardinals defeated the Mustangs, 51-45.

“It’s nice [to win], anytime something like that can happen,” said Cardinal Spellman head coach Michael Perry. “They’ve had a real good year. I think we played good lately. We come out and your tournament ready.”

“That’s the farthest [Medway] has ever gone in school history,” said Medway head coach Jason Rojee. “Nothing to be ashamed of [because] that’s a heck of a team.”

The Cardinals and Mustangs used the first quarter to test each other’s defenses, but also, commit fouls. Medway sent Spellman to line 13 times during the first half and the Cardinals made most of their visits successful, as they recorded 10 points from the free throw line during the first two quarters.

Spellman outscored Medway during the second quarter, as junior forward Joe Glynn tallied nine of his 26 points during the first half, which seemed to frustrate Rojee, as his team seemed unsure of how to cover him on defense. At times, Medway forced Glynn to beat them outside the paint, but unfortunately, the Mustangs defense couldn’t stop him from driving into the paint and scoring easy lay-ups.

“The kid hit the shots when he needed too, he rebounded well and he was tough,” said Rojee.

Medway though relied heavily upon senior forward Joe Henry, who finished the game with 20 points. Henry challenged the Cardinals defense, as they couldn’t stop Henry’s outside shooting game.

Entering the third quarter, both teams continued to battle with one another back and fourth, but Spellman would continue to hold onto their lead, as remained consistent at the free throw line, but during the fourth quarter, Glynn added nine points, while his teammates complimented his effort with an additional 12-points.

The Cardinals converted 10 of their 14 trips to the line and a majority of the fourth quarter free throw points came on behalf of Glynn.

With the final few minutes of the fourth quarter coming to an end, Medway attempted a small comeback, which was halted by both Glynn and senior guard Kevin Crane, who secured the win by knocking down free-throw shots, as well as critical three-pointer by freshman guard Ryan Roach.

“The kids have adapted to how they have to step up,” said Perry. “Sometimes, somebody else’s game is there. It’s nice to get the ball around the hoop.”

Spellman will advance to the TD Garden on Tuesday to face the MIAA Division III North winner.

When asked after the game if Rojee could see the Cardinals advance to Worcester for the Massachusetts state championship, he responded by saying, “I’d like to see it. Hey, if we’re going to lose to them, might as well [win the championship]. They’re a very good team.”