Warriors host Redmen Friday night in a Div. 2 North quarterfinal contest
Published in the March 2, 2017 edition.
By JIM SOUTHMAYD
WAKEFIELD — The Warrior girls’ basketball team knows who its opponent will be for tomorrow night’s Div. 2 North quarterfinal contest and that getting a victory will not be easy since it played that foe just last week.
Wakefield will take on Tewksbury in its state tournament opener tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at the Charbonneau Field House.
The Warriors (16-4) are seeded second in Div. 2 North while Tewksbury (13-8) is ranked seventh. Tewksbury earned a berth in the quarterfinal with a 61-45 victory over Wilmington last night in a first round game at Tewksbury High School.
The two teams are quite familiar with each other having played in the opening round of the Patton Tournament which was held on Monday, Feb. 20 at Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School. Wakefield won that game, 48-45, on its way to the Patton Tournament championship.
“We’re going to be playing Tewksbury. We’re excited to have a home game in the quarterfinals,” said coach Meg O’Connell. “It’s a new season. We beat them last week, but that doesn’t matter in the tournament. Tewksbury beat Wilmington last night and they lost to them twice during the regular season.
“We’re continuing to work to get better,” added O’Connell. “We want the players to go out there and give everything they have and execute for a full 32 minutes. It is nice to be playing a home game in the tournament and we’re focusing on how we come out to play.”
When Wakefield found out it would be facing the Tewksbury/Wilmington winner, the Warriors knew that whoever won would be a familiar foe and they should know what to expect. But Tewksbury also knows what to expect having faced Wakefield already this season.
“It’s a brand new game. We are expecting a tough game from them. It’s the tournament and all the teams are competitive,” said O’Connell. “We had a close game against them last week. We had the lead, then they got the lead. We regained the lead late in the game and held on to win.”
Facing a team that they have already played is a little different than facing a squad for the first time. The players and coaches know what to expect from a live action game and don’t have go with just a scouting report like they do against a first time opponent.
“It’s a little different. I’m sure they’ll make an adjustment from the first time we played them and so will we,” said O’Connell. “We’ll also be making adjustments during the game I’m sure. It’s a chess game.”
Tewksbury is led by the Gallella sisters, Erin and Lizzy. Erin Gallella, a guard, scored 12 points in the regular season game against Wakefield while Lizzy tallied 14 points.
“They have two good guards and we’ll have to defend them,” said O’Connell. “Number 4, (Erin) Gallella, the point guard is a good player and can shoot. Also, number 33, (Lizzy) Gallella, we need to keep her off the boards. She is a good rebounder and she can score some points.”
Another player, Wakefield will need to look out for is freshman Alli Wild. Wild had 11 points in the contest last week against the Warriors.
“Number 15 is a freshman and she is an excellent defender and can block shots,” said O’Connell.
The rest of the Redmen roster includes Marissa Doherty, Sam Mercurio, Izzy Picher, Katie Garcia, Sam Sureweic, Haley Mignon, Victoria Mirabito, Michaela Svendsen, and Bella DeRoche.
The Warriors, meanwhile, are led by senior captains Brianna Smith, Julia Hanley, and Emma Butler. Smith plays at guard while Butler and Hanley are both forwards. Hanley has been out of the lineup and O’Connell hopes she will receiver clearance today to play tomorrow night.
Junior guards Hannah and Olivia Dziadyk provide much of Wakefield’s point production, while junior guard Hailey Lovell and junior forward Allee Purcell also provide solid offense and defense for the Warriors.
The rest of the roster includes sophomore forward Hannah Butler, junior guard Nicole Catino, and sophomore guard Jaime Greatorex.
Allyson Coggswell, a junior guard, has an ankle injury and she is highly unlikely to play tomorrow night.
O’Connell points out the advantage of having a bye is the possibility of having Hanley back. The senior would not have been able to play had Wakefield played a first round game. The downside of not having a first round matchup is that the Warriors haven’t played a game in nine days.
“We had two scrimmages to break up the practices,” said O’Connell. “Sometimes it is better to play a game, but scrimmaging another team hopefully will help.”
The Warriors will hope to come out strong and show no signs of rust from the layoff. Of course being at home at the Charbonneau Field House before a big crowd should help as well as opposed to play on an opponent’s home court.
“We’re excited and it’s awesome that we have a home game,” said O’Connell. “Many of the players were freshmen two years ago when we hosted a home tournament game and they remember what it was like. This a good opportunity for our program and the student body does a great job coming out to tourney games. We need to be at our best to have a chance to win. If we do that then it’s a win-win situation for us. If we compete at our best and Tewksbury outplays us and wins the game, then we’ll tip our hats to them.”
Wakefield hopes that it will come out on top on the scoreboard, and if the Warriors win, then they will move on to the semifinals where they will face the winner of a quarterfinal between Watertown and Hamilton-Wenham which will be played Saturday night in Watertown. The date, time, and venue of the semifinals have yet to be announced.