(Boston) Fenway (19-3) defeated Greater New Bedford, 58-49, to become the 2012 Division Four champions on Tuesday afternoon at the TD Bank Garden.
And if there ever was a misleading final score, this one would be it.
We saw a game with ten ties and thirteen lead changes. You bet it was close……….until the final 1:52 when Fenway, trailing 49-48, scored all ten points the rest of the way to get to 58 while GNB stayed at 49.
It was a startling ending to such a tight contest. The biggest shot of the game may well have been the triple that freshman Lorena Escolero put in with 1 ½ minutes left to start the Panther 10-point surge to the title. I never saw Lorena shoot another shot before or after and she may well have been in the game only because 6-2 Jalissa Ross (11 points) had fouled out with 3:51 left. Whatever the case, Lorena’s long one turned the tide for Fenway.
The Lady Bears led 45-40 (3:51 left) when Jalissa went out and I thought at the time that GNB would dominate inside the rest of the way. It just didn’t happen although Nakira Examond’s layup on an inbounds play did give the Lady Bears their final (49-48) lead.
Sophomore Cadejia Matthews (12 points) had a huge final quarter with ten points. She put up eight straight for Fenway with an old-fashioned three, a three, and a jump shot to keep the Panthers close. Then after Lorena hit her big triple, Cadejia made two free throws.
Also big in the closing minute was junior Tajanay Viega (13 points). Tajanay dropped five free throws in the final thirty-five seconds to thwart any GNB hopes of a comeback.
Fenway’s harassing defense had a team, with dangerous scoring options, out of kilter most of the game. The Panthers forced twenty-nine turnovers by my unofficial count. A number of those turnovers became layups.
The Lady Bears were down by six (20-14) 2 ½ minutes into the second period before they shut down Fenway for four minutes and rolled up ten straight. Stephanie Antoine (16 points) had six in this run (two converted rebounds and a layup) and the other four points were on a converted rebound (Nakira Examond -10 points), and a Nicole Martin jump shot.
GNB led, 24-22, at the half.
An important second half stat was that Stephanie Antoine (she averages 24.8 PPG) had only two points in the second half. Getting the ball to her in a scoring position was very difficult for GNB with all of the Fenway pressure.
The score was tied, 37-37, after three periods.
Final quarter? Eight lead changes with the last one (51-49) coming on the Lorena Escolero triple with 1:25 left.
Vanessa Conceicao had the unenviable task of trying to bring the ball into the frontcourt against the Fenway double teams. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.
Senior Kayla Cox led the Fenway point getters with fifteen. She put in points in every quarter and had more rebounds than someone 5-4 should get. Her quickness and ball sense made the difference.
Greater New Bedford (21-4) has won three straight vocational titles.
Fenway was 15-0 in the Boston City League (North). They won eighteen of their last nineteen games.
(All of the pictures above and below enlarge significantly if you click on them.)