Warriors get early lead, stay ahead to post 53-43 triumph in Div. 2 North quarterfinal
Published in the March 6, 2017 edition.
By DAN BYRNE
WAKEFIELD — Win or go home, that’s the cutting edge of the state tournament. That what makes the postseason so exciting.
On Friday night at the Charbonneau Field House, the Wakefield Memorial High School varsity girls’ basketball team had its hands full in its quarterfinal round matchup of the Division 2 North sectional bracket with a Tewksbury team which it had beaten by three points just two games prior during the General Patton Tournament.
The rare past experience with the Redmen was invaluable to Head Coach Meg O’Connell as her team managed to establish a 10 point lead after the first half and the Warriors were able to maintain that margin throughout the second half in a 53-43 triumph.
“It was huge,” the coach said of having played this team before, “Tewksbury is a great team. It was a nice win to get, but playing against that competition made us better, so it was really big.”
The Warriors (17-4) advanced to the Div. 2 North semifinal and will face another opponent from the General Patton Tournament, Hamilton-Wenham. Wakefield beat Hamilton-Wenham by a 55-46 tally. The Generals earned a berth in the semifinals by upsetting third-seeded and Middlesex League Freedom division champion Watertown by a 46-43 score on Saturday night in a quarterfinal game at Watertown High School.
The Div. 2 North semifinal between the Warriors and Generals is scheduled for Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at Woburn High School.
In the Tewksbury game, Wakefield was led by junior guard Hannah Dziadyk in the first half, as she was locked in from long range. Dziadyk got the scoring going with a deep three to start the first quarter and went on to sink four total from beyond the arc as she put up all 14 of her points in the first and second quarters.
“We got a pretty early lead, and just kind of kept it,” the coach said. “These kids just really executed our game plan and they played tough.”
Wakefield led 30-20 at halftime, but Tewksbury wasn’t going to go away quietly. With the Warriors out front, some good defending and rebounding saw the lead extend to 14 in the third quarter before Tewksbury went on a run and cut the lead to just five. Wakefield came back and extended the lead back out to nine before the thith quarter started. Tewksbury edged the Warriors 9-8 in the third quarter.
“Tewksbury is a great team. We knew they were going to make a run at us in the second half, and they did. The closest they got was five and every time we made a big play to bring it back,” O’Connell said.
In the final quarter, junior forward Allee Purcell made sure there was no comeback for Tewksbury on Friday. Purcell had 10 points, including 8-for-10 from the free throw line.
“Foul shooting was huge in the second half, clutch,” O’Connell said. “They had great time management in the second half. They’re such a great competitive team, they’re just tough and they played well.”
“Everyone gave us a little bit of something,” the coach added.
A big ‘3’ from Hailey Lovell and some late free-throws by the junior guard sealed the game for the Warriors.
They’ll now move on to the semifinal round on Wednesday against Hamilton-Wenham at Woburn High School.
“Every year we make the tournament we tell the kids it is a new season. Every team has a 0-0 record. Now we’re 1-0,” the coach said.
The Generals knocked off Watertown 46-43 on Saturday and it sets up another General Patton Tournament rematch for the Warriors.
In the Warriors previous game prior to Friday’s Div. 2 North quarterfinal, in the championship game of the Patton Tournament, Wakefield sailed past host Hamilton-Wenham by nine points to capture the tournament title.
Coach O’Connell said, “What happens during the season matters because it gets us to where we’re at, but in terms of wins and losses, it’s a new season, a new start.”
Another win against the Generals would send the Warriors to the Div. 2 North final to play the winner of the other semifinal game between Arlington Catholic and top seeded Belmont. That contest is being played tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at Wilmington High School.
Div. 2 North Quarterfinal
Girls’ Basketball Tournament
At Charbonneau Field House
WAKEFIELD 53, Tewksbury 43
Tewksbury (43) — Doherty 0 0 0; E. Gallella 4 1 11; Picher 1 0 2; Wild 4 1 10; Garcia 1 2 4; Mignon 3 0 6; L. Gallella 1 0 2; Mirabito 4 0 8. Totals 18 4 43.
WAKEFIELD (53) — H. Butler 2 0 4; Smith 1 0 2; Hanley 0 0 0; Lovell 4 2 11; O.Dziadyk 2 2 6; E.Butler 0 0 0; Purcell 4 8 16; H. Dziadyk 5 0 14. Totals 18 12 53.
Score by Quarters — Tewksbury 8-12-9-14 — 43. WAKFIELD 13-17-8-15 — 53.
Three-point FGs — Tew, E. Gallella 2, Wild 1. Wak, H. Dziadyk 4, Lovell 1.