Boston High School: Victoria Dean

Comcast: Medfield, Braintree advance to girls final

February, 16, 2014
WELLESLEY, Mass. -– Once Lauren Petit caught fire for the Medfield girls basketball team in the opening round of the IAABO Board 27/Comcast tournament at Babson College on Sunday, it was clear that Archbishop Williams didn’t know how to douse the flames as she lead the Warriors to a dominant 66-46 win and a spot in Monday’s final against No. 1 Braintree.

Medfield trailed 13-9 after one quarter but the senior point guard erupted for 16 of her game-high 28 points in the second, sending the Warriors into the locker room at halftime with a 29-16 lead.

“It was huge for us because we were struggling to score,” said Medfield coach Mark Nickerson. “We weren’t getting too much going offensively, and she came up and hit a few 3’s early to keep us in the game really when it looked like they might run away quickly. It kind of sparked the team. We were able to settle down and run some things, and were able to find some gaps when they had to come out and cover her.”

Coming out of the break, Medfield continued its surge and by the end of third they had extended their lead to an impressive 53-29 over the recently-hot Bishops.

During the third, Petit tossed one of her six assists to classmate Kristin Fechtelkotter slashing toward the hoop. The senior forward finished in easy fashion, joining Petit with over 1,000 career points.

“Those two girls have spent a good portion of a lot of our games on the bench in the second half, because we’ve been up on teams,” said Nickerson. “Those two girls are really special talents, and I don’t think they always get the credit they deserve because they’re numbers aren’t crazy, off the wall, but they’re putting up those numbers in 17, 18 minutes a game a lot of times.”

Added Petit: “I’m so excited that she got to 1,000. We’ve been teammates forever -– growing up, playing AAU and playing, I was just happy and proud for her to get it.”

Fechtelkotter was the only other Warrior in double figures, finishing with 11 points. Payton Ouimette chipped in eight points and Kate Thomas added six in the win.

While Petit made sure the offense never cooled, the Warriors (20-1) were just as impressive on the defensive end. Only Leah Spencer (10 points) reached double figures. Victoria Dean added nine points, but Williams was never able to mount any significant momentum against Medfield’s defense.

Braintree blocks Westford’s best shot: In the early going of the other first round game, Westford came out firing and looked like they were going to give the No. 1 Wamps a run for their money. Braintree’s significant height advantage became too much though as the Ghosts just couldn’t get comfortable on the offensive end and fell 57-29.

By the end of the game the Wamps had blocked 12 shots, and won the rebounding battle 41-16. Their length inside also clogged up passing lanes all night, leading to an impressive 16 steals in the win.

“With our length, we can of collapse our defense into the middle and that makes us pretty tough at times,” said Braintree coach Kristen McDonnell. “We say every game that if we win the rebounding battle, we win the game, and so far that’s been true."

The staunch defense held the Ghosts at bay, and the Wamps offense used a balance attack to run away with this one. Three different Braintree players reached double figures, led by Molly Reagan’s game-high 12 points.

The Herilhy sisters, Bridget and Brianna, both added 10 points apiece. Braintree got nine points from point guard Ashley Russell and both Keelah Dixon and Maura Russell chipped in with five points.

Russell also paced rebounding, grabbing a dozen boards while providing a high energy effort that included four assists, three steals and two blocks.

“She’s our leading rebounder coming from the point guard position,” said McDonnell. “Most of those come on the offensive end; she’s just incredible. She’s like the energizer bunny, you pull the string and she just goes and goes. Ashley sets the tone right away for us every single game. Not only does she have the work ethic, but she has a real knack for knowing where the ball is going to fall.”

Westford used a 5-0 run midway through the second to pull within seven, but Braintree erupted for 11 unanswered points in the final three minutes of the quarter to take a 31-15.

They never slowed from there, and by the time the Ghosts scored again –- on a free throw midway through the third, Braintree had made it a 17-0 run. When Westford netted their first field goal of the second half -– with under two minutes to go, the Wamps had opened up a 42-20 lead.

Samantha Hyslip was the most effective weapon for Westford, tallying nine points and grabbing five rebounds for the Ghosts, who will take on Archbishop Williams in the consolation game of the tournament tomorrow afternoon.

Recap: Arlington Catholic 34, No. 2 Archies 27

January, 9, 2014
ARLINGTON, Mass. -– After the first four games of the season, No. 2 Archbishop Williams was 4-0 and outscoring opponents, 259-102. But playing just four games well over a month into the season because of the weather may have caught up to them as they were upset by Arlington Catholic (5-2), 34-27 Thursday night in a game controlled on the defensive end.

“I think the purists want to see beautiful basketball being played, and I think it was two teams that played really smart, intelligent defense and both teams rebounded fundamentally well,” said long-time Arlington Catholic head coach Dave Brady. “I think we’re all in the same dilemma this year. I don’t think the basketball is going to be all that pretty. Thank God for the elements, we finally practiced before a game. I think everyone is running into snow problems.”

With the Cougars clinging to a three-point lead with 2:30 remaining in the game, they needed a clutch basket -- something they hadn’t gotten to that point as they had scored just six points in the second half. That was where junior guard Melissa Rogers came through with a full-court layup with 1:55 left, beating the Archie’s press for an easy hoop and allowing the home crowd to breath a sigh of relief.

Less than a minute later, following a defensive stop, junior guard Emma Lutz nailed a three-pointer from the top of the key, extending AC’s lead to 32-24 and virtually sealing the win.

“I think Melissa’s layup, we were backing off a little bit and we were talking about playing not to loose and getting aggressive again,” Brady said. “Melissa did it and she actually had another chance at one that got blocked. She got aggressive and got a second wind.

“The Emma one was brilliant....I think the girl went under the screen and Emma got a good look at the shot and we want that from Emma. I wish I could hit layups the way she hits three’s, she has a sweet stroke.”

Rogers, Lutz and sophomore forward Demi Fogerty led the way for the Cougars, finishing with ten points apiece with both Lutz and Rogers hitting two three-pointers.

It appeared the home team was going to run away with the upset, as they limited Archie’s to just two second quarter points and led 21-8 at the half. But the Bishops wouldn’t go down without a fight, as they forced 14 second half turnovers and went on a 13-2 run of their own spanning from the end of the third quarter to Rogers’ layup with just under two minutes left in the game.

“I think both teams got tired and the basketball got ugly,” said Brady.

Sophomore guard Victoria Dean paced Archie’s with 10 points in the loss.

By nature some teams will have games circled on their calendar before the season and with the success Archie’s has had of late, this could have been one of those games for AC, but that isn’t in Brady’s blood.

“No, I’ve been doing this for 18 years. I just decided we’re going to put a bull’s-eye on everyone’s back, it doesn’t matter who it is,” said Brady. “With our attitude it is whatever team we’re playing that day has a bull’s-eye on their back. You just have to look forward to the next game, so I don’t look forward to any one particular game ahead.”

For Archie’s, they might already be circling Feb. 4 as they will be seeking revenge on the team that handed them their first loss of the season.

Doing the dirty work: In a game where they limited Archie’s to just eight first half points and 27 points overall, there are going to be some unsung hero’s on the defensive end of the court. Along with Fogarty, senior forward Presley Silva controlled the glass, limiting Archie’s to just one shot on most of their possessions.

As a unit they were also able to keep Archie’s junior star Alana Gilmer to just seven points as they played good help defense, not letting her to get inside the paint. They also limited Southern New Hampshire bound guard Olivia Conrad to just a free throw as their tremendous defense was what led them to the win.