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(Peabody MA) Great start by Rockland.
Great finish by Masconomet.
Neither team’s coach, however, was thrilled with the way things went the rest of the time.
Rockland held on and defeated Masco, 48-45, on Monday night in the opening round of the Bishop Fenwick Holiday Tournament.
The Bulldogs (4-1) face host Bishop Fenwick in the title game on Wednesday night.
Masco (3-2) takes on Haverhill in the consolation game.
Senior Julia Elie (23 points) overwhelmed the Chieftains on the inside for the first half.
“We were aware of how good she is,” said Masco coach Shannon Kirwan afterwards. “We threw everything we had at her. Kudos to her for getting through doubles and triples.”
Julia (Bentley commit) tallied Rockland’s first eight points. Her third basket four minutes into the first quarter gave the Bulldogs a 6-4 lead. They never relinquished that lead the rest of the way.
But as Rockland coach Diana Newcomb described it, “we made it interesting.”
Credit Masco. They just refused to go away.
Their offense, however, disappeared from time to time.
Masco closed to 12-11 after a well-run inbounds play netted junior Kaleigh Monagle (9 points) a layup.
That happened 2 ½ minutes into the second quarter. The final 5 ½ minutes of that quarter the team from Boxford didn’t score a single point.
“Offensively is where we’re struggling the most right now,” said Coach Kirwan.
The Bulldogs had a nine-point lead at halftime (20-11) and ran that lead up to fifteen points (31-16) after reeling off eleven unanswered points.
With 3 ½ minutes left in the third quarter, you had to like Rockland’s chances.
However, what Masco was unable to do in set offenses earlier, they were able to do off of their tenacious full-court defense over the final 1 ½ quarters.
Turnovers turned into points and thirty seconds into the final quarter a Kylie DuMont drive capped a 13-1 run for Masco. The Chieftains were one possession away, 32-29.
But that was as close as Masco would get.
Every time Masco scored down the stretch, Rockland had an answer. An old-fashioned three by Julia Elie one time, beyond-the-arc three’s by Charlie Kelleher and Sydney Blaney two other times, kept the Bulldogs in front.
Every Masco basket brought a fresh dose of full-court pressure and Rockland often made their reaction to pressure more “interesting” than their coach would have liked.
“We could not execute down the stretch to save our lives,” explained Coach Newcomb. “We showed awful discipline. Our poor decision making led to bad passes and bad angles with no one wanting to take over.”
“Credit Masco for playing it up for the full thirty-two minutes,” added Coach Newcomb.
“We had trouble finding the offensive flow but our defense definitely helped at the end,” said Coach Kirwan. “Taylor Bovardi (15 points, 4 steals, 5 assists) was a key in getting us back into it. The team showed a lot of grit coming back and I’m proud of that.”
Free throw shooting turned into an adventure for both teams. Masco was 3-for-10.
Rockland’s free throw shooting nearly cost them the game in the final forty-five seconds.
Masco started fouling on each Rockland possession and the Bulldogs missed five-of-eight free throw attempts, including the front end of two one-and-one’s, in those final 45 seconds. Those Rockland misses allowed Masco to get within three points (48-45) and have a possession to tie it.
“We need to take better care of the ball (nineteen turnovers) and we need to practice our free throw shooting,” suggested Coach Kirwan.
“Hopefully we can learn from this one and not make the same awful mistakes,” said Coach Newcomb. “We’ve got to do the little things, like make free throws.”
The aggressive Masco defense led to turnovers (Rockland had twenty-four).
The Chieftains’ disruptive defense lessened Julia Elie’s touches near the basket in the second half. Julia had eight second-half points.
“Julia has to finish more consistently,” said Coach Newcomb. “She stops herself more than other teams stop her.”
Rockland 12 8 12 16 = 48
Masco 7 4 16 18 = 45
Terrific lighting at Fenwick for picture taking.
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