Warriors come up short against defending M.L. Liberty division champ Woburn



WOBURN — The girls’ high school basketball season got underway Tuesday evening with the Wakefield Memorial High Warriors taking a trip down Montvale Avenue to visit the Woburn High Tanners.

Woburn is slated to be one of the strongest teams in the Middlesex League this season and the Tanners proved to be a tough first assignment for Head Coach Meghan O’Connell and her side as the Warriors dropped their first game of the season by a final score of 59-45 at Woburn High School.

The game began with both teams being aggressive trying to score. Wakefield did well in the first quarter getting its hands up to bother Woburn’s shooters and to establish beneficial position for grabbing rebounds defensively. Senior captain Daniella Iannuzzi anchored the formation defensively in the low post for the Warriors and, due in part to her first quarter performance, the teams went into the second with the score knotted at 11-11.

“We came out strong we had a good first quarter, you know we played them even,” said Coach O’Connell after the game.

Senior Amanda Boulter got the start at point guard with senior captain Nicole Galli on the sideline with an ankle injury. Boulter provided a spark early with a three-pointer to get the Warriors on the board in the first quarter. She finished with a team high 11 points.

Scoring, however, proved to be the area in which Wakefield and Woburn were most widely separated, and in the second quarter that proved to be the case. Woburn was the beneficiary of some sloppy turnovers from the Warrior offense trying to force passes into space that just wasn’t there. That led to fast break points for the Tanners.

“Woburn is a tough team, they play good defense,” O’Connell said of her opponent’s team. “We were playing them tough and unfortunately a couple of turnovers led to a couple more and Woburn was able to capitalize. Give credit to Woburn, they capitalized on our mistakes; that’s what a good team does.”

Wakefield was outscored 12-7 in the second quarter and Woburn went into halftime up seven at 23-16. Woburn’s Sam D’Angelo sparked the second quarter run, scoring five of her 12 points in the frame.

The gap only widened after halftime as Wakefield’s struggles continued on the offensive side of the ball. The ball pressure exerted by Woburn was giving the Wakefield ball handlers fits, forcing turnovers and leading to points down the other end.

As the quarter went on Wakefield’s ball security improved but finding space to shoot became the next hazard for the Warriors to overcome. As the basket seemed to shrink for the Warriors in the third, Woburn found its stroke and opened up a big third quarter lead, winning the third by a 23-12 margin and taking a 46-28 lead into the fourth.

Mya Blazejowski and Marissa Gattuso were unstoppable in the third quarter for the home team, combining to score 14 points putting the game out of reach for a Wakefield comeback.

With the lead well in hand, the final eight minutes were all but a formality as Woburn looked to burn up the time in the final quarter. The Warriors never stopped playing hard and proved as they were able to come up with some baskets and actually outscored Woburn 17-13 in the fourth quarter.

It was a tough draw to start the year for the Warriors but the season is very young still with their record now just 0-1. In such a difficult matchup so early in the year without one of the key players for Wakefield, the Warriors can’t be too disappointed with the result. Had Galli been able to play the offense probably would have run much smoother, cutting down on turnovers allowing for more shots to go up and more points to be scored.

“I thought the girls went in there in the second half and they were fighting until the final buzzer so I’m proud of them for that,” commented O’Connell on her team’s effort.

There were some promising signs for the future from the Warrior bench as some players got their feet wet in their first varsity game. Senior Julia Derendal and sophomore Emma Butler each chipped in six points off the bench and mixed it up on the glass, crashing the boards showing good effort on the rebounds. Butler also made a fine play defensively in the first half, sliding in to take a charge and get the ball back for Wakefield.

Freshman guard duo, Olivia and Hannah Dziadyk, were able to make their varsity debut on the evening and the pair looked to have some quality hoop traits. Their ball handling, passing and movement were impressive and could earn them some more playing time in future games. Olivia got on board, knocking down a three-pointer as time expired in the fourth.

With things beginning to get a little out of hand in the second half coach O’Connell turned to senior guard Alyssa Rossino to come off the bench and get things under control. Rossino’s performance helped calm things down on the offensive side of the ball in the fourth quarter, cutting down on turnovers and leading to more productive possessions on Wakefield’s offensive trips down the floor. She also chipped in a three-pointer for her only scoring of the game.

Wakefield looks to be without its starting point guard once again next time out as it opens up its home schedule on Friday night. The Warriors welcome Lexington and one of the best individual players in the league to the Charbonneau Field House. The boys play the early game at 5:30 p.m. followed by the girls at 7 p.m.


Woburn 59, WAKEFIELD 45

At Woburn High School


WAKEFIELD (45) — Boulter 4 0 11; Iannuzzi 2 4 8; Derendal 1 4 6; Raso 2 2 6; Joly 0 0 0; Rossino 1 0 3; Hurley 0 0 0; Joyce 0 2 2; O.Dziadyk 1 0 3; Butler 3 0 6; H.Dziadyk  0 0 0; Story 0 0 0. Totals 14 12 45.

Woburn (59) — D’Angelo 4 3 12; Kane 1 0 2; Gullage 1 2 4; Heath 1 0 2; Pacheco 3 0 6; Brennan 3 2 8; Vining 0 1 1; Donahue 0 1 1; Gattuso 3 2 8; Blazejowski 6 0 12; Carbone 0 0 0; Lund 0 0 0; Qualey 1 0 3. Totals 23 11 59.

Score By Quarters — Wakefield 11-7-10-17 — 45. Woburn 11-12-23-13 — 59.

Three-point FGs — Wak. Boulter 3, Rossino 1, O.Dziadyk 1. Wob, D’Angelo 1, Qualey 1.