After playoff win over Tewksbury, Melrose falls to A.Catholic

Published in the March 11, 2016 edition

AFTER WINNING their opening round game against Tewksbury on March 2, the Lady Raider hoop team bowed out of D2 North playoffs against Arlington Catholic on Sunday, 55-43. (Donna Larsson photo)

AFTER WINNING their opening round game against Tewksbury on March 2, the Lady Raider hoop team bowed out of D2 North playoffs against Arlington Catholic on Sunday, 55-43. (Donna Larsson photo)


MELROSE—It was the end of an impressive season for the 2015-16 Melrose Lady Raider hoop team, whose postseason run ended on Sunday, March 6 at Woburn High when third-seed Arlington Catholic beat 11th seed Melrose (12-9), 55-43, in the Division 2 North Quarterfinals. Melrose had advanced to second round thanks to a 46-41 opening round victory over Tewksbury on March 3.

But on Sunday Melrose faced a formidable opponent in Arlington Catholic’s Demi Fogarty, a thorn in Melrose’s side during volleyball season, who wreaked havoc on the floor of Woburn High with a game high 20 points. The 6’3 Senior (and D1 volleyball commit) lifted the Cougars to victory and to advance to play Belmont in D2 Sectionals Semifinals.

Sent to the floor for Melrose at the start of the game was Alexis Doherty, Cat Torey, Caroline Nolan, Olivia Smith and Ali Bornstein. The Cougars had the advantage height-wise, which limited Melrose’s ability to get under the basket. Fortunately, the Lady Raider’s outside shooting was hot, with baskets from Sarah Foote (11 pts), Alexis Doherty (10 pts) and Cat Torpey (11pts) who kept Melrose competitive throughout the contest.

It was senior captain Sarah Foote, however, who stunned the crowd with a late game run, scoring 11 points in the last two minutes of the game. Foote took a 49-32 Melrose disadvantage and made it a 49-43 game with a series of three pointers and a jump shot that had the Melrose fans on their feet and the Arlington coach calling a time out.

After the game Foote spoke of her effort. “I just wanted to play hard, to make it a game. I wanted to do it for the seniors because it’s been a great season.”

Melrose had to fight hard in the first quarter, falling into a 10-2 hole behind a Fogarty run, while Alexis Doherty got Melrose into the game by nailing a trey. Melrose had a 14-8 disadvantage at the end of the first but remained hot with the threes in the second quarter, with Cat Torpey hitting a three-pointer that narrowed the game 14-11. Torpey was a force for Melrose, using her height to block a number of shots and holding her own against the Cougar’s Fogarty. Caroline Nolan hit a three for Melrose at the close of the half to narrow the AC lead to 20-16. By halftime, the Cougars remained up, 22-16. Fogarty had a strong run in the third with ten points while her Cougars team outscored Melrose, 14-9. Despite solid shooting from Ali Bornstein, Cat Torpey and Alexis Doherty, Melrose was down 36-25 at the open of the fourth. The Lady Raiders let the game escape them, slipping to disadvantages of 44-27 despite Melrose’s Doherty chipping away on the foul line and a three-pointer. Ultimately, it was the senior captain Foote who stepped on the court and proved game-changer, temporarily scaring the AC crowd and ultimately going out on a personally high note. Arlington Catholic took advantage of an expiring clock, maintained possession and hit four foul shots in the final minute that dissolved any momentum for Melrose, who took the 55-43 loss.

After the game, it was the Melrose seniors (quad captains Olivia Smith, Ali Bornstein Sarah Foote and Julia Foley) whom Melrose coach Lindsay Shanahan had in mind. “Today is bittersweet. I’m thinking of them right now. I’ve had them for three year now and to see them emotional is hard.”

Still, the coach acknowledged the youthful team returning next season. “We’re a relatively young team so we have a lot of retuning players. I’m very excited for the future.”

Victory over Tewksbury fueled playoff run 

Melrose enjoyed one of their best defensive efforts of the season against 6th seed Tewksbury (14-6) in a 46-41 road victory on Thursday, March 3. Leading the scoring for Melrose was junior Leonora Ivers with 12 points. Melrose had entered the game as the lower seed but had split play with the Lady Redmen during the season. Both teams played to a stalemate in the opening minutes of the game, with Melrose showing trouble in their passing game, which helped Tewksbury take a 10-5 lead at the end of the first, despite a trey from Melrose’s Alexis Doherty. But in the second Melrose went on a run, fueled by baskets from Doherty and Ivers. Olivia Smith helped give Melrose their first lead of the game with a layup (fed by Doherty) to make it a 16-14 game, while a shot by Ali Bornstein at the close of the quarter gave Melrose a 18-14 lead going into halftime.

The Lady Raiders enjoyed a steady third quarter thanks to baskets from Olivia Smith yet found themselves in foul trouble which brought them neck-in-neck with Tewksbury, 29-29. Melrose was aided by strong play from Ivers, who kept Melrose in leads of 31-29 and 37-35. Alexis Doherty also came through on the foul line, extending the Melrose advantage to 39-35, and later 43-38. Thanks in part to these strong foul line performances, Melrose punched their ticket to quarterfinal play with a 46-41 victory.

The victory was Melrose’s first post season win in nearly five seasons and the first for Lindsay Shanahan as Melrose coach.