Take on third-ranked Arlington Catholic tonight in first round tourney contest

Published in the March 3, 2016 edition.


WOBURN — The Wakefield Memorial High girls’ basketball team barely made the state tournament. Now it will be up to the Warriors to make the most of the opportunity.

But to earn a state tournament win, Wakefield will have to defeat third-ranked Arlington Catholic in a Div. 2 North first round game which will be played tonight at 7 p.m. at Woburn High School.

The Warriors (9-11) are the 14th and final seed in Div. 2 North and got into the postseason by finishing in a two-way tie for second place with Melrose in the Middlesex League Freedom division.

Arlington Catholic, meanwhile, enters tonight’s game with a 15-4 record. The Cougars are only seeded behind top-ranked Watertown (17-3) and second-seeded Newburyport (17-3).

The Cougars, who play in the Catholic Central League, played a tough schedule this season are ranked 14th in the state. They are one of the favorites to win the sectional championship and are a perennial contender.

The team is coached by Dave Brady, who is a former head coach in Melrose.

Past league championships for the Cougars include 1967 (Suburban League), 1970, 2002, ‘03, ‘04, ‘05, ‘06, ‘07, ‘09, ‘11 and ‘12.

AC was the Catholic Tourney Class A Champions in 1968, 1970 and 1973.

The Cougars were Div. 2 North Sectional semifinalists in 2003 and 2004 and won the sectional championship in ‘08.

They were an Eastern Mass. finalist in 2008, Div. 2 North finalist in 2009 and Div. 2 Eastern Mass. champs in 2011.

The Cougars were the Div. 2 State Champions in ‘11 and ‘14.

In last year’s state tournament, Arlington Catholic lost to Pentucket by a 34-25 score in the semifinals. Pentucket also ended Wakefield’s tournament run last year in the quarterfinals, 61-35.

Arlington Catholic played a tough schedule this winter and earned victories against Falmouth (42-40 and 37-31), Medfield (63-56), Archbishop Williams (61-47), Arlington (44-39), Matignon (60-27 and 66-21), Bishop Fenwick (58-57 and 49-37), Westfield (62-22), Cardinal Spellman (61-55 and 57-26), Austin Prep (57-21) and Chelmsford (55-43).

A pair of Cougar losses have been to Archbishop Williams (40-39) and St. Mary’s (40-26).

Wakefield played a tough schedule itself as member of the M.L. Freedom division. The Warriors earned victories against Reading (49-40), Stoneham (34-27 and 55-53), Wilmington (41-33 and 42-39), Burlington (37-35 and 50-41), Winchester (52-8) and Belmont (42-38).

The Warrior losses have been to Lexington (45-36), Arlington (43-31 in overtime), Cathedral (50-35 and 51-42), Melrose (56-49 in overtime and 53-45), Watertown (51-47 and 56-35), Woburn (60-40), Hamilton-Wenham (42-37) and Dracut (47-37 in overtime).

Wakefield lost three straight to end the regular season, so it will be seeking a return to its winning ways.

The Warriors are led by senior guard and league all-star Grace Hurley. The rest of the seniors on the roster include Julia Derendal, Gabby Joly and Mia Joyce.

The juniors on the team are Julia Hanley and Emma Butler. The sophomores include Ally Coggswell, Hailey Lovell, Olivia Dziadyk, Allee Purcell and Hannah Dziadyk. The lone freshman on the team is Hannah Butler.

If Wakefield wins, then it will play the winner of first round game between sixth-ranked Tewksbury (14-6) and 11th-seeded Melrose (11-9) in a quarterfinal game on a day, time and venue to be announced. Tewksbury and Melrose play each other tonight as well.