(Boston) The Georgetown Royals reached the state finals on this snowy March 9th afternoon but came away with only an appearance in the finals to show for it as they lost to Millis, 60-43.
“It was worth the trip,” said Coach Barri Ann Lorenzo afterwards in the press room. “But it’s harder without the W at the end of the day. I am very proud of them and equally disappointed with them not in them.”
The Royals actually got off to a nice start as Taryn O’Connell nailed 3’s on her first two shots in the first 1 ½ minutes. No one knew it then but those were half of the 12 points that G’Town’s all-time scorer would get in the game.
Georgetown, with five busloads of students cheering them on, led 10-8 after one period. The second quarter was a different story and it was in the first 4 ½ minutes that the Mohawks took control of this game for good. In thirteen possessions the Royals committed eight turnovers, missed two free throws, and Taryn had a shot blocked. Meanwhile, Millis started getting production from junior Molly Breen (28 points – career high) and senior Amy Ingraham (20 points).
An Olivia Zitoli layup put Millis in front 11-10 and by the quarters end the lead was up to 29-22. Breen had ten points in that quarter mostly on layups.
“The answer to #24 (Molly Breen) would have been help defense,” explained Coach Lorenzo. “We had scouted Millis and knew about them. We just didn’t defend very well.” With just one day to practice after reaching the finals on Saturday afternoon you can understand that not only was there limited practice time but certainly a fatigue issue. “Millis ended up with two days of practice (rest?) and we had one.”
In the third period the Royals put together of string of points (Shannon Hartford layup/Kelli O’Brien jumper/two Taryn free throws) and had narrowed things to 40-35 with 1 ½ minutes remaining.
This was where Molly took this game over. The last eight points belonged to the 5’11” junior. She repeatedly found her way to the basket and/or to the free throw line. This was part of the game where that help defense vanished and when the quarter ended a mountainous 48-33 deficit was in place.
The Royals could not dent that deficit the rest of the way and by the time the game ended every player on each roster had seen action on the BankNorth Garden floor.
That her team did so well in the tournament (won four games) did not surprise Coach Alonzo. “I expected us to do well.”
Georgetown had to have the vision to see the light at the end of the tunnel as they played through 15 losses during the pre-tournament season. All those losses got them the bottom seed in Division 4 and put them in with the best area Division 4 teams early. No problem except maybe the close one I saw versus Fenway at Greater Lawrence.
Coach Alonzo was pleased with the fan support at the Garden. “It was great because the girls don’t usually get the attention they deserve.”
It was ironic that the G’Town boys had a 14-6 season and had plenty of fan support. They also were rewarded with a bye in the first round of the tournament and then ended up losing the first game they played. Therefore, this was a year to follow the boys during the regular season and the girls in the tournament.
I had my camera handy at the Garden. Anything that is underlined will turn into a picture if you click on it.
Jennifer Donovan and Kelly Gillen prepare to sing the National Anthem.
The Royals line up for the National Anthem.
The opening tip.
Assistant coach Bob Graffum looks on.
Plenty of fans from Georgetown made the trip.
The cheerleaders also performed.
Taryn O’Connell shoots a free throw with Haley Gisonno ready to rebound.
Rachel Sherman gets ready for an inbounds play.
Molly Breen puts in two of her 28 points.
Shannon Hartford studies the situation.
Michelle Reilly with Kelli O’Brien in the background.
Taryn O’Connell scans the floor late in the game.
Taryn, Haley, and Michelle watch from the bench as the game slips away.
Maria DeGenova holds the Division 4 finalist trophy.
The team lines up to receive their medals.