(Beverly MA) “This game literally came down to the last possession,” said Bishop Fenwick coach Adam DeBaggis afterwards.
The Crusaders needed a stop against Masco and they got it to preserve a 33-32 win on Monday night in the finals of the McIntire Classic.
Mak Graves dribbled out Masco’s final fifteen seconds looking for an opportunity for some sort of shot but there were tall Crusaders inside and closely guarding Crusaders on the perimeter. Mak ended up in the right corner with the tallest of the Crusader (Jennie Meagher) nearby and had her shot blocked as the game ended.
“It was two tremendous defensive teams,” said Masco coach Bob Romeo. “Every inch on the court was defended for thirty-two minutes. It came down to the play at the end.”
Junior Sammi Gallant had only three points but two of them were on a layup with twenty-one seconds left that turned out to be the game-winner.
“Unbelievable drive to the basket,” recalled Coach DeBaggis. “Sammi’s so tough. We hadn’t finished a number of drives, but we got that last one and it was huge.”
Close games have been part of the recent rivalry between the two teams. “Last year in the Xmas tournament we beat them 37-36,” said Coach DeBaggis. “This year it was them 35-33, and now this game.”
The Crusaders (11-9) used a zone defense and had the size and quickness to protect the rim and the perimeter. Masco was in a straight in-your-shirt, man-to-man defense.
BF was able to get to the foul line twenty-three times because of their willingness to drive to the hoop. Another reason this game stayed close? The Crusaders missed fourteen free throws.
The Chieftains had trouble getting good shots and got into trouble (twenty turnovers) forcing the ball in close to the basket.
There were twelve lead changes and six ties in this game.
Masco took a one-point lead (24-23) into the final quarter.
The team from Peabody ran the first seven points of the final quarter and led 30-24 with 3:21 remaining. Liz Gonzalez had a layup and a free throw while Sammi Gallant added a free throw in this segment. A crowd-pleasing three by senior Fredi DeGuglielmo ended the run of points for BF.
“We didn’t panic when we were down by six in the last quarter,” recalled Coach Romeo.
An NBA three by freshman Morgan Bovardi was followed by a Mak Graves steal that turned into two made free throws. Now down by one (30-29), Morgan put the team from Boxford in front with a three from in front of the Masco bench and suddenly they were ahead, 32-30, with 1:52 remaining.
The Crusaders didn’t panic either. On two straight possessions they got the ball in close. Jennie Meagher got a free throw out of one possession while teammate Sammie Gallant had the eventual game-winning down the right side with 21 seconds left. Between those two possessions Masco had its 20th turnover.
Olivia DiPietro ended with ten points and was named the tourney MVP.
Jennie Meagher had only six points but her twelve rebounds and three blocks (including the one on the last shot) were important pieces in the BF win.
I was impressed by the way Masco freshman Cally McSweeney held her own against the older/taller Jennie Meagher. “She’s our only true big player,” said Coach Romeo. “We put her out there early and she didn’t give Jennie an inch. She ended up with thirteen rebounds.”
Morgan Bovardi (14) and Mak Graves (12) were the top Masco scorers. Morgan made the all-tourney team.
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