Warriors take third-ranked AC to overtime in Div. 2 North first round game

HEAD COACH Meghan O’Connell (center) talks to her team during last night’s state tournament game against Arlington Catholic. The Warriors dropped a 57-51 game to the Cougars in overtime to have their season come to an end. (Donna Larsson Photo)

HEAD COACH Meghan O’Connell (center) talks to her team during last night’s state tournament game against Arlington Catholic. The Warriors dropped a 57-51 game to the Cougars in overtime to have their season come to an end. (Donna Larsson Photo)

Published in the March 4, 2016 edition.


WOBURN — It was a thrilling evening at Woburn High School as the Wakefield Memorial High varsity girls’ basketball team went on the road to a neutral site to face number three seeded Arlington Catholic in the first round of the Div. 2 North tournament.

AC had a height advantage, boasting a pair of starters that are over six feet tall, but that’s hasn’t slowed Wakefield’s defense down all year. The teams fought tooth and nail and the game took overtime to determine a winner, but in the end Wakefield came up just short, falling 57-51.

Unfortunately for Wakefield, it took its offense a couple of quarters to get up to speed and the Warriors had to rely on some big-time plays to keep their hopes alive. Wakefield used some outstanding three-point shooting to claw back into the game and, though they valiantly forced an overtime period, the Warriors succumbed to the Cougars to have their season come to an end.

It would be the last time the likes of Mia Joyce, Gabby Joly and Grace Hurley would step on the court for the Warriors but they made some noise on their way out the door. Head Coach, Meghan O’Connell, pointed to her senior leaders as key to the team’s clutch performance.

It wasn’t the best first quarter for the Warriors, as they managed to put up just six points. AC had a tough time against the aggressive and physical Wakefield defense and only built a four point lead as the two teams headed to the second quarter with the score 10-6.

Wakefield got four of its points on one play, as Mia Joyce got a second shot at a three-pointer from the corner after the Warriors grabbed the rebound on her initial miss. Joyce’s second effort went straight through and the closing Cougar defender clattered into her, sending her to the free throw line for the foul shot.

Arlington Catholic was led by freshman Erin Donlan, who had two of her four three-pointers in the first quarter.

The Cougars scored the first four points of the second quarter and built an eight point lead before Wakefield got on the board with Allee Purcell coming through with a layup.

AC then went 3-for-4 from the free throw line in consecutive possessions and they held a nine point lead at 17-8.

Joyce came up big with another bucket, this time pump faking and driving hard to the basket for two and the foul. After the free throw Wakefield trailed by six at 17-11.

Hurley had trouble finding her rhythm in the first quarter but she broke the ice in the second, netting a bucket to cut the AC lead down to four. After a pair of Cougar buckets opened the lead back up to eight, Hurley found an open Olivia Dziadyk at the three-point line. The long range strike cut the lead down to five.

Allee Purcell added a point from the free throw line and the Warriors trailed at halftime by a 21-17 score.

The three-pointers started to rain down in the third quarter as the Warriors opened with a Joly bomb from downtown to cut the lead down to one at 21-20. Donlan came right down and cancelled out Joly’s trey with a three-pointer of her own. Back down Wakefield’s end it was Hannah Dziadyk who found the stroke from long range and it was back to a one-point game.

AC got the next couple of baskets to build a five point lead, before Purcell made two from the free throw line. With the score 28-25, Arlington Catholic went on to score the next five points and build the lead out to 33-25. That’s when Olivia Dziadyk hit her second of three three-pointers on the night. The shot gave the Warriors some momentum heading into the final period of play down 33-28.

Wakefield got the first basket of the fourth quarter when every point would prove to be crucial. Ally Coggswell didn’t play a ton of minutes but she made her time on the court count as she made a basket cut on an inbound pass under the hoop for an easy two points.

Down 33-30, Wakefield tied the game with a Joly three-pointer. However AC came right down and sank a three-pointer of its own. That’s when Hurley found the range from deep for Wakefield and responded with a three-pointer. Things started to get crazy as Donlan launched a trey for the Cougars and Olivia Dziadyk responded with another for Wakefield to tie the score at 39-39.

After AC went ahead by two on a pair of free throws, Hurley let it fly again from behind the arc and gave the Warriors a one point lead, 42-41.

With time winding down, Arlington Catholic went on a 5-0 run to take a four point lead. Things were looking grim for the Warriors as Coach O’Connell called for a timeout down four with less than 30 seconds to play. After nearly losing the possession on a few sketchy passes, Wakefield looked like it was struggling to come up with the quick bucket it needed. Then the ball came to Joyce on the wing and she dropped in another three-pointer, kissing it off the glass to cut the lead down to one.

A quick foul sent Marie Gaffney to the line with eight seconds left for AC. She made the first but the second free throw was off the mark. Olivia Dziadyk rushed the ball up the court for the Warriors, there was no time to delay. The sophomore put her head down and drove into the paint. With two seconds to go, Dziadyk’s layup tied the score at 47-47.

AC’s last second full court attempt was short and the game went to overtime.

Wakefield seemed to have the momentum heading into the overtime period but the size of Arlington Catholic won the game for the Cougars. AC’s biggest target, Demiana Fogerty. only had two points in regulation but netted five in OT as the Warriors did everything they could to neutralize the big threat in the low post.

AC outscored Wakefield 10-4 in the extra period, as the Cougars won the game by a 57-51 final score. Arlington Catholic will now play Melrose (46-41 winners over Tewksbury last night) in a quarterfinal round game on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. at Woburn High School.

The loss was certainly a thrilling climax to another exciting year of girls’ basketball at Wakefield Memorial High School. Wakefield finished the year with a 9-12 overall record.


Div. 2 North

Girls’ Basketball Tournament

First Round

At Woburn High School

Arlington Catholic 57, WAKEFIELD 51 (OT)


WAKEFIELD (51) — Czarnota 0 0 0; H.Butler 0 0 0; Smith 0 0 0; Joly 2 0 6; Hanley 0 0 0; Hurley 3 0 8; Joyce 4 2 12; Coggswell 1 0 2; Lovell 0 0 0; O.Dziadyk 4 2 13; E.Butler 0 0 0; Purcell 1 5 7; H.Dziadyk 1 0 3; D’Ambrosio 0 0 0. Totals 16 9 51.

Arlington Catholic (57) — Petrillo 1 0 2; Donlan 4 3 15; A.Ball 0 1 1; Gaffney 5 13 24; Mattera 0 0 0; Foyo 1 0 2; Perez 2 2 6; Paratore 0 0 0; Dall 0 0 0; Fogarty 2 3 7; Burke 0 0 0; M.Ball 0 0 0; Richardson 0 0 0; Brady 0 0 0. Totals 15 22 57.

Score by Quarters — WAKEFIELD 6-11-11-19-4-51. Arlington Catholic 10-11-12-14-10 — 57.

Three-point FGs — Wak, O.Dziadyk 3, Joly 2, Hurley 2, Joyce 2, H.Dziadyk 1. AC, Donlan 4, Gaffney 1.