(Boston) The Hull Pirates did everything right in the last 1 ½ minutes to hold off the New Mission Titans, 59-55, and win the state championship in Division 4 on Monday night at the TD Garden.
The amazing Pirate girls barely made the tournament with a 10-10 regular season record and started out as the #16 seed in the South. Five wins later they’re the best girls’ team in Massachusetts in Division 4.
Nicole Heavern (27 points) carried the Pirates for twenty-nine of the game’s thirty-two minutes. After that it was Amy MacDonald (8 points) and Lauren Geary (12 points) making one big play after another, that brought the championship to Hull.
Amy and Lauren made eight straight free throws under as big a pressure-packed setting as you could imagine.
Amy followed her first pair of free throws (which gave Hull a 51-47 lead with 1 ½ minutes left) with a steal in the backcourt and a resulting layup that expanded their lead to, 53-47.
A layup by Tianna Johnson (18 points) was offset by two Lauren Geary free throws with one minute left (55-49).
Tianna came back with a three and Lauren answered with two more free throws. This made the score 57-52 with thirty-two seconds to go.
Freshman Jazuela Larguente (23 points) answered with a three before Amy delivered two game-clinching free throws with nineteen seconds left to put the score at 59-55.
New Mission put up three shots in their last possession but couldn’t connect.
Free throws were very important in this game. Hull came out going to the basket at almost every opportunity and New Mission picked up foul after foul. However, for most of the first half, fouling the Pirates was a good idea. They only made eight of their first eighteen attempts (they had 24 attempts in the first half) and combined with a nine-point Titan run, things balanced each other out and the score was tied (26-26) at the half.
The Pirates were back at the foul line to start the second half as Nicole Heavern made two. These points turned out to be the ones that gave Hull the lead for good but just barely later on.
The Pirates got up by nine (36-27) when the Titans failed to get a point in eight possessions while Hull collected eight. A key basket in this sequence was a layup by Katie Manning who was left completely alone for an easy score.
Down 40-31, entering the final period, the Titans (18-6) put together a 9-2 run over 2 ½ minutes to make it 42-40 with 5 ½ minutes remaining. Jazuela Larguente put in a rebound and later added two free throws, gesturing to the Hull crowd after each made one.
Jazuela would get the next two baskets for New Mission but a free throw by Lauren Geary and two more Nicole Heavern layups keep Hull in front (47-44) and set the stage for Lauren Geary and Amy MacDonald in the end game.
Amy scored all eight of her points in the last quarter of her final high school game.
(I collect my own stats and take my own pictures. I make my own assumptions. Mistakes happen….unintentionally.)