FRESHMAN Brooklyn Calder chipped in 4 points during a 51-33 victory over Arlington last night. (File Photo)
By DAN PAWLOWSKI
ARLINGTON — A relatively even first half of basketball at the Toczylowski Gym in Arlington last night turned into a landslide in the 3rd quarter as quickly as a Warrior fast break.
The Wakefield High girls’ basketball team went on a 12-0 run to start the 3rd, their trademark full court press finally overwhelming the Spy Ponder guards and forcing a timeout by the home team with the Warriors up 33-17.
Senior captain Ashlee Purcell scored 8 of her game-high 17 points during that run while junior captain Emma Shinney (14 points) collected 4 of her 11 assists during that same stretch – a sequence that all but sealed Wakefield’s seventh consecutive win to start the season.
Arlington cut the deficit to 12 going into the 4th but Wakefield remained in the driver’s seat and closed the game well, once again leaving a few minutes for their starters to enjoy another win on the bench.
Additional scoring for Wakefield came from junior Emma Quinn (7 pts), freshman Brooklyn Calder (4), junior Mia Forti (3), senior captain Hannah Hill (2), sophomore Savannah Cummings (2) and freshman Shea Suntken (2).
But more-so than scoring, it Wakefield’s defense that remained relentless, starting with on-ball pressure from Purcell and Shinney and continuing with good rotations and rebounding by forwards Hill, Quinn, Forti and anyone who subbed in as well. Senior captain Sophie Brown, probably a guard by nature, defended multiple positions and battled for rebounds while setting the tone with her energy – an energy that the Warriors have collectively owned throughout most of this great start to the season.
The Spy Ponders hung right with Wakefield in the first quarter. Shinney had four of her assists in the opening frame, her first on a long pass to Purcell to open the scoring, followed by two perfect bounce passes, first to Forti then to Calder before a drive, draw and drop-off dish to Cummings resulted in an 11-8 lead. The quarter ended 11-10 Wakefield.
The Warriors went up 21-17 at the half. Shinney got her scoring going in this quarter, getting to the hoop with ease and dropping 8 points in the frame, but Wakefield couldn’t quite pull away, leaving a lot of points on the court with some missed shots and turnovers.
The decisive 12-0 run to start the 3rd started with a Quinn layup off an in-bounds pass from Shinney, one of multiple well drawn-up plays by head coach Jason Pavey that led to quick buckets in this one. Another one came on a Purcell to Shinney, back to Purcell give-and-go on a sideline in-bounds play to made it 29-17.
With captains Hill and Brown hustling defensively combined with Wakefield’s relentless press keeping Arlington off balance, Shinney continued to find her teammates and closed the quarter with a floater in the lane to make it 36-24 after three.
The Warriors replicated their 3rd with a 13-2 run to start the 4th that all but sealed it. Quinn, hitting Wakefield’s only 3 of the game, and Purcell both had 5 points during this stretch.
Wakefield broke 50 points for the 5th time in their first seven games. Perhaps more importantly, they have yet to surrender more than 36 points in a game. This was the 6th time they have held their opponent to under 34 points.
The Warriors will look to stay perfect tomorrow night with another road game in Burlington at 5:30 p.m. The boys’ game will follow at 7 p.m. The games were originally scheduled for Friday night but were moved up due to Friday’s impending snowstorm.
The Warriors will be looking for a bit of revenge as the undefeated Red Devils ended Wakefield’s season last year in the Middlesex League Tournament semifinals by a 29-27 score.
Burlington, who lost multiple seniors from that team, is off to a 1-5 start this season.