Melrose one win away from playoff berth

Published in the February 5, 2016 edition


MELROSE — The Melrose Lady Raider hoop team is just one win away from qualifying for a postseason after a three game winning streak this week, including a 60-38 thrashing over Burlington Tuesday night at the Melrose Middle School gym. At 9-7 Melrose is peaking at the right time, showing offensive depth and aggressive defense.

Melrose has averaged nearly 70 points a game in the home stretch of the season; making this the team’s best effort in at least three seasons. In any given day, any Lady Raider can be counted on leading the charge on offense and in recent games it’s been sophomore guard Alexis Doherty, scoring 38 points in two games alone.

Melrose began their winning streak with a staggering 80-36 victory over Winchester on Tuesday, Jan. 26. In that game Doherty had 14 points and Olivia Smith posted 12. On Friday, Melrose topped Wilmington 64-53 with another impressive offensive performance thanks to Doherty, who led with a game-high 23 points while teammate Ali Bornstein tallied 13 points.

On Tuesday, Melrose simply dominated Burlington. Doherty led once again with 15 points, Caroline Nolan had 10 and Olivia Smith 8. Nolan had a standout game for Melrose, with a huge first quarter including two treys, two steals and a number of assists. “Caroline is our commander out there,” said Melrose coach Lindsey Shanahan after the game. “She just takes care of everything.”

Melrose took a lead of 13-3 by the end of the quarter thanks to fine defense from Cat Torpey, Caroline Nolan and baskets by Doherty. Nolan opened the second with a trey while Julia Foley, Leonora Ivers, Doherty and Olivia Smith helped extend the Melrose lead to 26-12 at halftime. Cat Torpey and Alexis Doherty had an enormous third period for Melrose, with Torpey forcing a number of turnovers and Doherty shooting perfect at the foul line. Caroline Nolan had a steal for a layup and Sarah Foote added a basket that extended the Melrose lead to 38-16. Melrose would maintain a double-digit lead throughout the game, thanks to a strong run by Olivia Smith, who had eight fourth quarter points and Julia Foley, closing the game out with six points for a final 60-38 Melrose win.

According to coach Shanahan, second time was a charm for Melrose battling league foes. “We’ve adjusted our defense in recent games, changing things up on teams who’ve already seen us. And it’s working.”

After a two-year hiatus from playoffs, Melrose is now on the verge of postseason with just one win needed to qualify. Good news: on the schedule are teams they’ve seen success against earlier in the season. Let the games begin.

Middlesex League Standings

League     Overall     PF/g     PA/g

Watertown   12-1   13-2    46.9     32.6

Wakefield     8-5     8-7      42.9     42.2

Melrose        7-6     9-6       53.0    49.9

Burlington     5-8     6-10       40.9     45.6

Stoneham     2-9     2-11     39.6     52.7

Wilmington    2-10   3-11     41.1     49.3


Remaining Schedule

Tue. 2/2 5 p.m. vs. Burlington

Fri. 2/5 5 p.m. @ Wakefield

Tue. 2/9 5:30 p.m. @ Watertown

Fri. 2/12 5 p.m. Home vs. Stoneham  (Senior Night)

Thu. 2/18 7 p.m Home vs. Tewksbury Memorial

Mon. 2/22 5 p.m Home vs. Weston