Vikings narrowly escape with playoff win, 53-51

Published in the March 3, 2017 edition

ALEX DOHERTY had 14 points for Melrose, but Melrose fell to Triton in the opening around of the D2 North playoffs, 53-51. (Donna Larsson photo) 

ALEX DOHERTY had 14 points for Melrose, but Melrose fell to Triton in the opening around of the D2 North playoffs, 53-51. (Donna Larsson photo)


BYFIELD— The Melrose Lady Raiders stood tall but come up short verses the Triton Regional Vikings in a 53-51 playoff heart stopper on February 28 at the Triton Regional Gym. Tight defense played a huge factor in this first round matchup of the Division 2 North State Tournament playoffs. Melrose’s Alexis Doherty boosted 14 points with several assists on the night while Catherine Torpey racked up 13 points including three treys and a host of rebounds. This nail biter came down to the final seconds as Melrose scrambled to send it to OT, but unfortunately time ran out before the Lady Raiders could punch the ticket.

Triton laid it on heavy in the first quarter, putting up more than double the Raiders’ points while Viking defense kicked it into high gear and stalled Melrose offense to just seven points for that quarter. At the end of one the score was Triton 16, Melrose 7. But the Melrose defense came alive in the second quarter; jamming Triton’s smaller shooters, while Caroline Nolan picked pockets left and right, giving the Vikings a taste of their own medicine keeping them to just 8 points.

Meantime, Melrose offense was picking up steam with points from Peri MacDonald and Lily Cunningham that put the Lady Raiders back on the map. Cat Torpey would sink a trey followed by a tear drop in the key to bring the score to 18–16 while Alexis Doherty further chipped away at the Viking lead with a layup and a bucket from beyond the arc for tres points. As the first half drew to a close Melrose was only down by two, until Leonora Ivers was able to launch a shot home from the paint to tie it up with only seconds left in the half. The Lady Raider offense flipped the first quarter script on Triton and lit it up in the second quarter to tie the score at the half 24—24.

As the second half began, Triton started by double teaming Melrose shooter Alexis Doherty who responded with a little shake and bake, losing her defenders and knocking down a three pointer in open space. Cat Torpey also nailed a three of her own to bring the score up to Melrose 30, Triton 26. As Caroline Nolan set the table for her offense on a fast break she dished the ball to Leonora Ivers who forced a foul driving hard to the rim and cashed in on both shots from the charity stripe. As the third quarter rounded out the score stood at Melrose 38, Triton 34.

The fourth quarter had Melrose’s Lily Cunningham and Peri MacDonald stepping up early on to make play after play on D and offense in crunch time as the Triton offense began sweating their deficit in the last quarter. A layup early in the fourth by MacDonald in the paint was assisted by Cunningham who seconds later drew a foul to push Melrose ahead further, 41-39. Triton would strike back a moment later with a three that put the Vikings ahead by one. On the ensuing fast break Cunningham was able to draw yet another foul and hit both frees to put Melrose back up by one.

The back and forth intensity continued until two minutes left in regulation when the Vikings hit two consecutive buckets to put the score at Triton 50, Melrose 45. Alexis Doherty was able to net a lay in followed up by a clutch trey to give Melrose one last chance at overtime with 8 seconds left. An intentional foul by Melrose left the score at 50 — 53 Vikings with 5 seconds left and Melrose in possession. A last second foul on Leonora Ivers had melrose depending on the rebound which didn’t fall in their favor.

Melrose loses a tough one in the final seconds 51-53 to round out their 2016–2017 season with a final record of 12-10. Melrose says goodbye to talented seniors Cat Torpey, Leonora Ivers and Caroline Nolan, but return with top scorer Alexis Doherty in 2018.