Category Archives: Rockland

St. Mary’s gains D3 title with 46-44 win over Rockland

Coach Jeff Newhall with captains Abby Constine and Liv Abbott
Yirsy Queliz (17 points) hits the game winner with 24 seconds left

(Lowell) There were seven lead changes.

The score was tied in all four quarters.

Rockland had two possessions after the final tie (44-44 with 1:28 left).

But it was St. Mary’s making the outcome-deciders thereafter to slip away with a 46-44 win in the Division 3 girls title game on Friday night at the Tsongas Arena.

Yirsy Queliz (17 points) gave the Spartans the lead with a jump shot over two defenders with twenty-four seconds left.

Then it was Kellyn Preira blocking the tying basket as time ran out for the Lady Dogs.

Kellyn Preira blocks Julia Elie’s final shot
Maggie Elie and Yirsy Queliz

“What a heckuva game,” said Rockland coach Diane Mitchell afterwards.  “It was an absolute battle.  We didn’t come away with the win but no way was it from lack of effort.”

“Give Rockland credit,” said St. Mary’s coach Jeff Newhall post-game.  “They were excellent.  Emotionally, we were a little bit spent from the other night (against Bishop Fenwick).  We had just enough, and Kellyn made a huge play at the end.”

In each of the first three quarters, high-scoring St. Mary’s looked ready to gain significant separation from Rockland (21-4).  But persistent half-court defense and consistent rebounding by the Lady Dogs wouldn’t allow it.

Ball on the floor

“To hold that team to forty-six points was doing our job defensively,” said Coach Mitchell.

Down 15-8, Rockland rallied around baskets by Sydney Blaney, Maggie Elie (11 points), and Julia Elie to begin the second quarter even (15-15).

Behind 26-19 at the half, Maddy Hermenau and the two Elie sisters, generated points to even the score at 28-28.

After a drive and a free throw from Kellyn Preira (16 points) was followed by a three from Niya Morgen, Rockland trailed by six points but once again rallied into a tie (34-34) to start the 4th quarter.

Yirsy Queliz sees lane to hoop

Then the lead changes started, and the excitement built.  Both teams and their active student sections had plenty of highs and lows the rest of the way.

No one play ever wins or loses a team game.

“She could have made the two free throws and we wouldn’t have had the problem at the end with my heart rate,” said Coach Newhall.

Julia Elie and Kellyn Preira

“We missed free throws and had turnovers before the final play,” added Coach Mitchell.

Coach Newhall: “Yirsy (Queliz) is a scholarship guard.  I am grateful to have her for another year.  She lives for basketball.  She was our steadying presence all night on offense while everyone else was pretty much helter-skelter. She makes that (final) shot more often than not.”

Coach Mitchell: “Maggie (Elie) reached a new level in the tournament.  She turned the page and realized that beyond bringing the ball up she could be a facilitator.  She could take over.  She could get to the hoop.  She could get points and still get assists.”

Great setting at Tsongas.  Great views and well managed.  I was impressed with the lighting.

St. Mary’s   15     11    8   12   =   46

Rockland     13      6   14   11   =   44

(The pictures will enlarge.)

St. Mary’s celebrates
Rockland double-team
Yirsy Queliz to the basket
Charlie Kelleher and Niya Morgen
Kellyn Preira block in the first half
Kellyn Preira sets to block on the final play
St. Mary’s lines up post-game
St. Mary’s behind the banner
Rockland box
St. Mary’s box

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Rockland holds off Masco 48-45

(Pictures enlarge when you click on them.)

Julia Elie (23 points for Rockland)
Taylor Bovardi (15 points for Masco)

(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.

Maggie Elie chased by Masco defenders

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.”

Battle on the floor
Rockland coach Diana Newcomb

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.

Block or charge?

“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. 

Mia Theberge (5) gets a rebound

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.

Sarah Green defends

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 was an adventure for both teams
Kylie DuMont (8 points)

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.

Masco pressure defense

“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.

(The pictures will enlarge if you click on them.)

Rockland box
Masconomet box
Sydney Blaney and Kylie DuMont chase a loose ball
Maddie Murphy surrounded by Chieftains
Julia Elie
Krystal Zepaj guarded by Maddie Hermenau
Reaching for a rebound
Carissa Scannell (4) chased by Jordan Stec (15) and Emma Cameron (14)

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St. Mary’s downs Rockland 53-37 to gain a D3 title shot

Maiya Bergdorf (13 points) was a key part in St. Mary’s strong second half

Lady Dogs close in on Nicolette D’Itria

(Boston MA) This one took a while to sort out.

Tied at 18-18 at halftime.

Rockland had size and had won sixteen straight.

St. Mary’s had a persistent defense and was capable of scoring seventy to eighty points.

Something had to give.

It was the Spartans (24-2) who turned things their way in the second half.

They continued to defend well and found a way to stoke their lackluster first-half offense.

Those ingredients led them to a 53-37 win in the D3 state semi-finals on Wednesday afternoon at the TD Garden.

St. Mary’s will face Hoosac Valley in a title game rematch from last season.

“Hoosac Valley is like UConn,” said St. Mary’s coach Jeff Newhall post-game, “they are there every year.”

Jannise Avelino and Julia Elie (14 points)

The Elie sisters, senior Caroline and sophomore Julia, carried the Lady Dogs in the first half combining for fifteen points. Rockland (22-3) was able to use their size advantages inside to turn lob passes into layups.

Rockland led 18-12 with 2 ½ minutes left in the second quarter.

St. Mary’s used Rockland’s scoreless time thereafter to get a shot-clock beating three (Gabby Torres) and a Yirsy Queliz steal that the freshman turned into an old-fashioned 3-point play.

“We were tied at halftime and our offense couldn’t have been much worse,” said Coach Newhall.

After two lead changes early in the second half, a pair of Maiya Bergdorf (13 points) free throws put St. Mary’s in front, 25-24, with 2 ½ minutes. They would never trail again.

Yirsy Queliz scores and draws a foul on Hannah Wyllie

“When #14 (Hannah Wyllie) was taken out because of foul trouble, we inserted Van Nguyen and went with four guards and Maiya (Bergdorf),” recalled Coach Newhall. The Spartans took off from there.

“We did a 4-1 to space out their bigs and open up the paint for Maiya,” explained senior Olivia Matela.

Defending the inside opened up outside shots for St. Mary’s. Defending the perimeter gave Maiya a chance to operate against a single defender.

“They had a lot of weapons,” said Rockland coach Diana Newcomb, “and they could bring them from wherever they wanted to.”

St. Mary’s pushed their lead to nine (38-29) after two Maiya free throws and a drive by Olivia Matela (nine points).

Olivia Matela (9 points)

The deal was sealed for the team from Lynn a minute later when Maiya and Olivia hit three’s on consecutive possessions. These triples raised the Spartans advantage to eleven (44-33) and there was no coming back for the Lady Dogs.

“Van (Nguyen) sparked the win,” said Coach Newhall. “She’s a role player who sat on the bench for 2 ½ quarters today. To contribute as she did under those circumstances was special. We matched her up against a forward defensively and put as much pressure as we could on the ball.”

Julia Elie (14 points) and Caroline Elie (12 points) paced Rockland.

St. Mary’s two losses were to teams (D1 Franklin & D4 Cathedral) that will also play for state titles in their next game.

You have to like St. Mary’s chances against Hoosac Valley in the title game. Why? Granted HV won that game last year but in December of this season, at HV, it was St. Mary’s 62, Hoosac Valley 32!

Gabby Torres and Caroline Elie (12 points)

Caroline Elie: “Since the beginning of the season we’ve grown tremendously on and off the court.”

Hannah Wyllie: “We would have wished for a better outcome but just to be here is a great thing.”

Olivia Matela: “We used the big court to our advantage. We play fast. The majority of our points are scored in transition.”

Maiya Bergdorf: “Coach (Newhall) kept encouraging me even when my shots weren’t falling. Players need to hear that.”

Coach Newhall: “We were here a year ago and our goal has been to get back to the state championship game again.”

Rockland coach Diana Newcomb

Coach Newcomb: “This is the best group to come through Rockland in twenty years. They won the South Shore League and reached the Eastern Mass finals.”

Twenty years ago, the RHS coach played for the Lady Dogs when they won the state title. “I was here for the Eastern Mass game. We beat Chelsea by a pretty good margin, and then won against Bromfield in the state championship game.”

Rockland box

St. Mary’s box

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge if you click on them.)

Referee smiles as both coaches protest the same call

Caroline and Julie Elie leave the game

End of the game

Hannah Wyllie drives on Gabby Torres

Julia Elie breaks out

Julia Elie and Maiya Bergdorf

Nicolette D’Itria

St. Mary’s team post-game

St. Mary’s pre-game

Sydney Blaney covers Yirsy Queliz

Van Nguyen surrounded by Hannah Wyllie

Yirsy Queliz guarded by Hannah Wyllie



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