MEDFIELD, Mass. –- In arguably the biggest upset so far in the MIAA Girls Basketball Tournament, Bishop Feehan became the first squad to knock off a No. 1 seed, taking down the Warriors 50-40 to advance in Division 2 South.
“Medfield’s the number one seed and they played that way tonight. They played great, they played hard, they did a wonderful job and our girls met the challenge. I can’t be any prouder of then I am of them,” Feehan head coach Mike Deady said.
Medfield (19-2) jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead, but struggled for portions of the game. The Warriors spent countless times missing a variety of shots, as well as struggled at utilizing their taller and stronger players in the paint, Hillary Collins and Natalie Dickinson. Both Collins and Dickinson finished the game with just nine points between the two forwards and were unable to convert points underneath the basket, but were also limited at securing offensive rebounds too.
“Our girls played real hard. We struggled to score, but our defensive intensity was matched by theirs,” Medfield head coach Mark Nickerson.
Both team’s defenses kept the score close during the first half, but the Shamrocks (16-6) eventually snapped out of their funk, as sophomore guard Sierra Schrader’s hook shot sparked the Shamrocks small comeback that helped take a 19-17 lead into halftime.
“Our huddle downstairs [during halftime] was just intense, we said we just got to pick it up, we got to want it more than them. They’re the number one seed and we’re the underdog and we just went out there and absolutely killed it, it was awesome,” Feehan junior guard Alexis Sells said.
Sells and her teammates ratcheted up their intensity on both sides of the court during the second half, as the Shamrocks connected on their multiple shots, forced turnovers on the defensive end.
The Warriors were never out of position to regain the lead or keep the score close, but one of the biggest factors during the final two quarters were free throws. Medfield converted 11 of 13 baskets, while Bishop Feehan matched the Warriors with 11 makes, but missed an additional seven shots.
“I hope we shot 70-percent, but I don’t know, I don’t know, but I’ll tell you what, [our free throws] were key down the stretch and our ability to handle their pressure finally was the difference in the game,” Deady said.
Medfield used the press to take a lead again to start the fourth, but whatever was mentioned in the Shamrocks huddle during the early timeout clearly paid off, as they tallied 21-points in seven minutes. Most of the final points were divided amongst Sells and Schrader. The two combined for 17 points in the second half, and ended the game with 15 each.
“All I said was we got to cut and we got to screen and the rest of the girls stepped up,” Sells said.
Trailing by eight points during the final few minutes, Medfield attempted to come back, but after missing some critical shots, it just
seemed as if it wasn’t meant to be.
“We went from down four to up one. I think it was about three and a half minutes left in the game, we were down one we had a shot that I thought was going in, [but] didn’t, but that was kind of the calling down of our momentum,” Nickerson said. “Obviously, we’re used to putting up a lot more points than [tonight], but credit their defense, they played us real tough.”
Feehan denied any comeback and earned a rather impressive victory against a strong Medfield team that fought hard for an entire 32-minutes.
“We’re thrilled, we’re excited, it’s great to beat the number one seed," Deady said. "We expect nothing but tough games from here on out. I really have to say I have a great deal of admiration for Medfield and the way they played tonight. They did a wonderful job, but our girls played great defense."
“It feels awesome, we have confidence right now to go all the way. We’re not losing and no ones stopping us, we’re playing great,” Sells said.