Warriors pick up second straight win, prevail 52-38
By DAN BYRNE
WAKEFIELD — There was a lot of good cheer and holiday spirit last night at the Charbonneau Field House as the Wakefield Memorial High School girls’ basketball team took down Reading with a resounding 52-38 victory to complete the Tuesday sweep for the varsity boys’ and girls’ hoop teams.
It was the second win in a row for head coach Meghan O’Connell’s team and she liked what she saw from her girls last night.
“I’m very pleased with their effort tonight they stuck with our game plan and executing,” the coach said.
The Warriors were boosted by the return from injury of their captain, senior guard Nicole Galli. Galli led all scorers with 14 points in her season debut.
“Anytime you get a senior with that amount of experience back it’s going to help,” said the coach.
“Nicole does a great job handling the ball at the point guard position,” O’Connell said. “She played awesome tonight coming back off the ankle injury. She did a nice job tonight scoring too.”
Wakefield was off and running from the opening tip and the pace at which they came out with overwhelmed Reading. The Warrior shooters were aggressive, letting it fly from three early and often in the first. Although they did not make any three point attempts in the first quarter, the Warriors dominated the offensive boards early on and foul trouble for Reading put Wakefield’s shooters at the free throw line where they shot 5-for-6 in the quarter.
Reading struggled to get anything going offensively in the first quarter scoring only seven points. Wakefield’s up tempo game plan put Reading’s defense on its heels and caused the Rockets to get into early foul trouble. Julia Sullivan had six of seven Reading points in the first including a three-pointer. Allison Caligiuri had the other Reading point in the first quarter and she had 14 points to lead all Reading scorers in the loss for the visitors.
The second quarter was Reading’s best quarter as they outscored Wakefield, 11-10, cutting Wakefield’s first half lead down to single digits heading into the locker room with the Warriors up, 27-18.
Wakefield got some key contribution from its bench in this game. Emma Butler had four points and was active on the boards once again. Alyssa Rossino, Mia Joyce and Julia Derendal were all called upon in the first half and contributed some steady production while providing important rest for the starters.
It was the second unit’s ability to not have a drop off when the starters came off the floor that made if very difficult for Reading to get back into the game.
Wakefield’s big run came after the halftime break. The Warriors came out of the locker room on fire in the third quarter and outscored Reading 18-10 in the frame. The pace that they began the game with had returned in the third quarter, as did the long range efforts. The only difference from the first and third quarters was that in the third, the three-point shots went down. Senior guard Amanda Boulter found her range from long distance in the third, and junior Grace Hurley knocked down two from beyond the arc. Boulter was a force in the third quarter, scoring seven of her 13 points after the break.
Entering the fourth quarter up 45-28, Wakefield had the game all but won after three. Reading never gave in and actually outscored the Warriors 10-7 in the fourth. But the Rockets never really got much closer than 14 points. Five of Wakefield’s seven points were scored by Galli, as she added a three-pointer and a couple of free throws to cap off the evening.
The win is Wakefield’s second in a row and it is just what Coach O’Connell wanted heading into the holiday break. A nice victory like this early in the season is a key as the year progresses. If things hit a rough patch later in the season, the coaches can pull out the game film and point to this game as to how they’re capable of playing when things are going well for them.
One key to success O’Connell mentioned, “Playing how we practice, they really have that concept down, which is great. What’s great is, every kid right now is buying into the system in what we’re trying to do. They’re totally into this team concept. They’re buying into it, so it comes from them. They want to run what we’re trying to do and so they’re focused on it so it’s happening. They’re just believing and trusting and everything that we’re practicing every day, they’re trying to execute and put that into play.”
She is enjoying the early success this year but coach O’Connell knows there is a long road ahead this season, “We’re pleased with where we’re at but we know there’s still a lot of work to do. We’re happy with where we’re at but we just want to keep working to be the best team we can be and we have a few extra practices to help do that.”
The girls aren’t participating in any holiday tournaments this December, although they do have a non-league game scheduled for New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31 at Concord-Carlisle at 1:30 p.m. Wakefield returns to Middlesex League action in the new year on Jan. 2 as its head to Watertown for the M.L. Freedom division opener.
WAKEFIELD 52, Reading 38
At Charbonneau Field House
Reading (38) — McGurn 0 1 1; Squires 0 0 0; Wilson 1 3 5; O’Brien 2 0 4; Sullivan 2 3 9; McGuinness 1 0 2; Downey 0 1 1; Nestor 0 0 0; Downey 0 0 0; Dudinski 0 0 0; Littlehale 1 0 2; Caligiuri 4 5 14. Totals 11 13 38.
WAKEFIELD (52) — Boulter 5 2 13; Iannuzzi 4 2 10; Galli 4 4 14; Derendal 0 0 0; Raso 0 1 1; Rossino 0 0 0; Hurley 3 0 8; Joyce 0 2 2; O.Dziadyk 0 0 0; H.Dziadyk 0 0 0; Butler 2 0 4; Story 0 0 0.Totals 18 11 52.
Score by Quarters — Reading 7-11-10-10 — 38. WAKEFIELD 17-10-18-7 — 52.
Three-point FGs — Rea, Sullivan 2, Caligiuri 1. Wak — Galli 2, Hurley 2, Boulter 1.