Tag Archives: Jennie Mucciarone

St. Mary’s routs Hoosac Valley 74-36 to take Division 3 state title

Brianna Rudolph, Jennie Mucciarone, and Sharell Sanders with D3 state title trophy

Brianna Rudolph, Jennie Mucciarone, and Sharell Sanders with D3 state title trophy

(Worcester MA) Hoosac Valley’s plan was to use their speed, force turnovers and make three’s.

Those three had carried the Hurricanes to a 23-win season.

Then along came St. Mary’s in the Division 3 state finals on Saturday morning at the DCU Center in Worcester.

Brianna Rudolph, Sharell Sanders, and Jennie Mucciarone on the break

Brianna Rudolph, Sharell Sanders, and Jennie Mucciarone on the break

Nothing worked for the team from Cheshire and they were buried by the Spartans from Lynn, 74-36, ending a seventeen-game winning streak.

Brianna Rudolph starts to drive

Brianna Rudolph starts to drive

Before the game I had a chat with someone who hadn’t seen St. Mary’s play.  I told them that I doubted that Hoosac Valley had faced a player like Brianna Rudolph.  (I had seen Brianna carry St. Mary’s past Archbishop Williams, 47-45, in the D3 state semi-finals.)

It didn’t take Brianna (Division 1 UMass Lowell commit) long to prove my point.  The Spartans broke away from the Hurricanes in the first three minutes with Brianna (26 points) tallying eight straight – three layups and a jump shot.

That run in the first period gave St. Mary’s (24-2) their initial separation and there was no looking back.

Jen Gale eyes the hoop

Jen Gale eyes the hoop

The ‘Canes were able to stem the tide a couple of times but the lead kept growing.

The Spartans, winners of nine straight, had point runs of: eight, ten, thirteen, eight, and nine.

The only run that the Lady Canes from the Berkshire Country League put together was eight, late in the final quarter.  Three’s by freshman Kailynne Frederick and Maddie Ryan keyed those consecutive points.  Those were the only 3’s Hoosac Valley would get.

This game went from “still undecided” to “out-of-reach,” four minutes into the second half.  During a five minute stretch, starting with a minute left in the second quarter, St. Mary’s outscored the Lady Canes, 21-2, on their way to a 53-19 advantage with twelve minutes of playing time left.

Gianna Moschella (14 points) looks for a rebound along side #22 Maddie Ryan

Gianna Moschella (14 points) looks for a rebound along side #22 Maddie Ryan

Jennie Mucciarone had a layup and three assists in the big run.  Reserve Gianna Moschella added an old-fashioned three and two layups.

Softball has a mercy rule and I couldn’t help thinking that the need for those final twelve minutes to be played (with a team down 34) didn’t seem necessary.  But it was played and St. Mary’s won, 74-36.

It was obvious early on that HV was not going to be able to force the Spartans into turnovers that would lead to quick baskets.  Too many good passers and dribblers on the St. Mary’s team.

Unable to turn pressure into scores the Lady Canes fell back into a half-court defense that had no answers for the take-it-to-the-basket Spartans.

Senior Sharell Sanders ended up with thirteen points including eleven in the first half.  The terrific point guard will be playing for Division 2 Caldwell College (New Jersey) next season.

Sharell Sanders (13 points) finds a direct route to the basket

Sharell Sanders (13 points) finds a direct route to the basket

Another Spartans senior, Jennie Mucciarone sat out the second period with three fouls but was big in St. Mary’s pull away in the second half.  Jennie will play at Division 3 Tufts next season.

Brianna Rudolph (26 points) ended her Spartans career in wonderful fashion.  She was part of a man-to-man defense that had HV going east-to-west in the front court most of the game.  Brianna will be at UMass Lowell in the fall.

Sophomores Kayla Carter (10 points) and Gianna Moschella (14 points) would suggest that the well is far from dry at St. Mary’s.

Maddie Ryan paced Hoosac Valley with ten points.

There was never a lack of effort on HV’s part.  They finish 23-2.

St. Mary’s boxscore

Hoosac Valley’s boxscore

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

McKenzie Robinson

McKenzie Robinson

Spartans coach Jeff Newhall with Brianna Rudolph afterwards

Spartans coach Jeff Newhall with Brianna Rudolph afterwards

team picture afterwards

team picture afterwards

Fallon Field drives on Sophia Holmes

Fallon Field drives on Sophia Holmes

Sharell Sanders

Sharell Sanders

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Brianna Rudolph brilliant in St. Mary’s 47-45 win over Archbishop Williams – Hoosac Valley next in D3 title game

Sharell Sanders gets open in the lane for game winner after pass from Brianna Rudolph

Sharell Sanders gets open in the lane for game winner after pass from Brianna Rudolph

Jennie Mucciarone signals the win as Brianna Rudolph (31 points) dribbles out the clock.

Jennie Mucciarone signals the win as Brianna Rudolph (31 points) dribbles out the clock.

(Amesbury MA)  St. Mary’s 47, Archbishop Williams 45.

Quite a remarkable game.  I saw the end of it and took some pictures of the excitement.

Anyone who saw that game on Tuesday afternoon at the TD Garden will use two words to explain how St. Mary’s won: Brianna Rudolph.

The MIAA may have had Brianna’s name wrong in the program (“Nicole,”) but both teams were keenly aware of her.  I never saw a Spartans’ possession in the frontcourt where the ball wasn’t in her hands.  For the Archies, every Brianna free-throw attempt was an opportunity to swing into the Christmas spirit with a student-section rendition of “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

Brianna Rudolph took thirty shots including this tough one in traffic

Brianna Rudolph took thirty shots including this tough one in traffic

The second-half numbers clearly reveal the impact Brianna had in getting St. Mary’s a Division 3 state semifinals win.  The Spartans’ senior was directly responsible for twenty-three of St. Mary’s twenty-seven second half points.  After Brianna reached nineteen points in the second half she then assisted on the tying basket (Kayla Carter) and the winning basket (Sharell Sanders) late in the game.

Brianna (UMass Lowell commit) did finish with thirty-one points but those last two assists were more important to the final score than any of the points.

The entire early run of stories about the St. Mary’s/Archbishop Williams game missed the significant point that Alana Gilmer was defending Brianna.

The last two games I saw the Archies play were in last year’s D3 state semifinals and finals.  Alana put up points but it was her defense that paved the way for AW wins over Pentucket and Lee.

Alana Gilmer had six blocks including this one on Brianna Rudolph

Alana Gilmer had six blocks including this one on Brianna Rudolph

Against Pentucket (state semifinals), 6-foot Alana limited Coley Viselli to three points.  Against Lee (state finals) Alana held Stephanie Young also to three points.  Both of those talented seniors were 1000-point scorers who had shot over and driven around many previous defenders.  But not Alana.  She is tall enough to make the 3-point shot less wide open and fast enough to keep contact on a drive.  She is very good at blocking shots and got Brianna several times.

Anyhow, my point in that this was no random defender on Brianna.  But she got thirty-one points.  How?  Speed and a quick jump shot off the dribble.

That jump shot allows a shorter player to be into the jump shot before the taller defender is set to block the attempt.  Brianna used that jump shot to get open several times against Alana who is four inches taller.

The Archies did a terrific job against the Spartans’ 1000-point scorer Jennie Mucciarone.  A very helpful stat sheet (Thank you, MIAA!) revealed that Jennie missed all fifteen shots she took.  There’s more to that story………at least ten of those shots were blocked!  AW had sixteen blocks.  The Archies were able to throw Jennie off her game the same way Alana had thrown Coley Viselli and Stephanie Young off their games the previous tournament season.

St. Mary’s last two baskets were very similar.  Brianna drove in from the left into a double-team.  Both times she had the good basketball sense to realize that teammates were open……..and they were open in close.  First it was sophomore Kayla Carter in the low key wide open, and then it was senior Sharell Sanders in the same spot for the eventual game-winner.  In both cases, Brianna’s passes turned into perfect setups.

Alana Gilmer (18 points) takes a last-minute shot defended by Kayla Carter and Sharell Sanders

Alana Gilmer (18 points) takes a last-minute shot defended by Kayla Carter and Sharell Sanders

Archbishop Williams had a timeout and twenty seconds to do something about STM’s two-point (47-45) lead.  I never doubted that Alana (18 points) would get the final shot.  She ended up with a contested (Kayla Carter & Sharell Sanders) jump shot along the baseline which rimmed out.  After a scramble, Kayla came up with the rebound and called a timeout with 2.3 seconds left.  After a timeout, the Spartans got the ball into Brianna’s hands to dribble out the clock.

The win earns St. Mary’s a trip to the DCU Center in Worcester on Saturday for a title game against Hoosac Valley at 10:45AM.

Hoosac Valley is from Cheshire which is in the northwest corner of Massachusetts about fifteen minutes from the New York and Vermont borders.

The Hurricanes are 23-1 and won their state semifinals game by two points over Bellingham.  HV lost that same game last year.

Brianna gets inside Alana for two

Brianna gets inside Alana for two

Their only loss?  To a team from Ohio (Austintown Fitch) in Florida during winter break.

In twenty-two of the Hurricanes’ wins they have won by more than ten points.

According to Hoosac’s coach (Ron Wojcik), Austintown Fitch was the, “only team able to handle our pressure and keep turnovers down.”

St. Mary’s had only six turnovers against Archbishop Williams.  Look for them to keep the ball in the hands of Sharell Sanders and Brianna Rudolph.

St. Mary’s won the state title in 2011 over Lee.

Halftime box

Full-game box

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

team picture

team picture

Leah Spencer (14 points) leads a break

Leah Spencer (14 points) leads a break

Alana Gilmer

Alana Gilmer

Brianna Rudolph shoots

Brianna Rudolph shoots

Jennie Mucciarone gets her shot blocked by two Archies

Jennie Mucciarone gets her shot blocked by two Archies

Sophomore Victoria Dean

Sophomore Victoria Dean

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Clutch Free Throws Preserve St. Mary’s 53-50 Victory Over Coyle and Cassidy in State Semis

Cassi Amenta (nineteen points including four straight free throws in the last seventeen seconds.)

St. Mary’s celebrates their state semi-final win.

(Boston) St. Mary’s of Lynn reached the state D3 finals but it wasn’t easy at the TD Garden for them last night.  The Spartan girls led from beginning to end but there were numerous times when the perpetually rallying Coyle and Cassidy squad had the ball and were within a made basket of tying the game or getting a lead.

St. Mary’s (23-4) won 53-50 and will advance to Saturday’s championship game in the DCU Center in Worcester.

Cassi Amenta (19 points) turned out to be the late-game star for St. Mary’s by surrounding a Brenna Gonsalves three (the talented senior had 25 points) with two free throws before and after, in the last seventeen seconds of this crowd pleaser.  The second pair gave the Spartans a three-point cushion (53-50) with 3.8 seconds remaining and left little time for Brenna to get close enough for a last-second, backcourt heave that had much of a chance.

Brenna Gonsalves (twenty-five points including thirteen in the last quarter)

When Brenna’s shot fell short, the Warriors (22-3) could only look back and wonder if things would have been different if they’d been the ones starting fast.

The Spartans turned the ball over the first three times they had it (25 turnovers in the game) but then put up points in their next five possessions to get ahead, 9-2, after 3 ½ minutes.  St. Mary’s showed in this run that their size was going to be trouble for Coyle as 6-2 Tori Faieta (11 points) and 5-11 Cassi Amenta had two inside scores.

The Warriors rallied back to contention, as they did all night, and trailed 22-19 at halftime.

The Spartans had yet another fast start in the second half putting a 9-3 segment in place.  Freshman Jennie Mucciarone notched St. Mary’s only three during a run that gave them a 31-22 edge after three minutes.

St. Mary’s still was in command at the quarter’s end, 37-29, and 2 ½ minutes into the 4th quarter, 40-33.  But then the Warriors, led by Brenna Gonsalves and Missy Perry (13 points), began put up points and force the Spartans into a turnover-strewn final five minutes.

I overheard St. Mary’s coach Jeff Newhall say afterwards that his team shouldn’t have had trouble against the press but in front of a large crowd it sometimes feels like there are 3,000 defenders on the other team.

The Spartans had seven of their miscues during the last five minutes.  Two of those backcourt turnovers led to Brenna layups and a score, after the first (40-37), and the second (45-42), with three minutes left.  However, this was a game in which St. Mary’s always had a response to keep them in the lead.

Good thing, because the challenges from Coyle to their lead kept coming.

The most dangerous late-game challenge to St. Mary’s was when Brenna took the rebound of a missed free throw and dribbled the length of the court for a basket with twenty-seven seconds left, closing the gap to, 49-47.

After a timeout, Brianna Rudolph (10 points) was fouled but missed both free throws.  The Warriors had time (twenty-four seconds) but a traveling violation forced Coyle to foul and set up Cassi Amenta for her free throw shooting heroics.

(I collect my own stats, although the TD Garden boxscore helped, take my own pictures and draw my own conclusions.  Mistakes are sometimes made for which I apologize for in advance.)

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