About 3,000 fans filed into the FleetCenter the next day for Andover’s Division 1 war with Newton North.
The teams had a vague familiarity with each other as the two schools tangled for four straight seasons in the late stages of the state soccer tourney. Newton North won three of those matchups and threatened to carry that streak into basketball as it held the lead in the late stages of the Eastern Mass. finale.
But with six minutes left to play and facing a 42-38 deficit, the Golden Warriors went to work.
Junior guard Merry Fish (12 points) hit a pair of 3-pointers to tie the game at 44, then Jenny Muller (team-high 19 points) drained a trey and Ashley McLaughlin (9 points) added a putback with 17 seconds left to lock up the win.
McLaughlin made her biggest contribution on the defensive end, shutting down Sara Rabinovitch (15 point average) to just one hoop after a quick six-point start.
“We were basically trying to force them into bad shots,” McLaughlin explained. “I was trying hard to keep the ball away from the basket.”
Next up for Andover was Minnechaug, which felled the Warriors in the 1998 state title game.
Trailing by two points in the final seconds, Samantha Hughes followed up Muller’s miss to tie the game and was fouled with 0.9 seconds left, then hit the pressure-packed free throw to earn Andover a 48-47 triumph before nearly 7,000 hoop fans.
“I just felt the ball fall into my hands,” said Hughes. “My natural reaction was to throw it back up.”
Muller led all scorers with 24 points.
10 years ago
… While Raider boys fall a point short
Hard to believe that, after 23 straight victories in the 2002-2003 season, Central Catholic still had another gear.
But it was true. The unbeaten Raiders elevated their game even higher against Division 1 South champion Brockton in the Eastern Mass. final at the FleetCenter (now known as the TD Garden).
Deadlocked with the 23-3 Boxers, 26-26, at halftime, Central rode a dominant performance from 6-7 senior Dan O’Shea to a 60-50 victory and a weekend date with Amherst in the state final in Worcester.
O’Shea scored 16 of his team-high 24 points and hauled down nine of his 13 rebounds in the final 16 minutes to help the Raiders pull away. In the process, O’Shea netted his 1,000th career point when he sank his first basket of the game, finishing the contest with 1,020 points and, more importantly, another game to play.
“In the first half, it’s a lot of nerves,” O’Shea explained. “In the second half, there was this sense that I was on every loose ball. You always try to play like that, but it doesn’t always happen.”
Ironically, O’Shea’s father played for Brockton.
Big contributions also came from Jeremy Shannon (10 points and 6 assists) and Marquis Victor (10 points).
Tickets for the contest sold at a brisk clip. Central’s initial allotment of 500 disappeared in two hours, and after driving to the MIAA office in Franklin for another 500, those were gone five hours before game time.
“If we could have gotten 500 more tickets, they would have been sold out, too,” said Raider head coach Dick Licare.
As it was, 5,000 people attended the penultimate game, followed by an audience of 7,000 in Worcester.
Central held an eight-point second-half lead, but difficulties at the free throw line opened a door that Amherst, behind 16 points from junior Ben Coblyn, ran through for a 65-64 victory.
“We missed 11 free throws in the second half,” said Licare. “It just really came down to foul shots.”
Victor had 18 points and Jonathan Cruz 17 in the heartbreaking defeat.
20 years ago
Hillies’ title run continues
Haverhill’s girls hoop team had a remarkable run in the late 1980s and early ‘90s, but head coach Kevin Woelfel didn’t expect a return trip out of his 1993 squad.
“I certainly didn’t expect to be back (in Worcester), you can believe me about that,” said Woelfel after his Hillies commanded the paint for a 63-48 victory over Stoughton in the Division 1 semifinals at Boston Garden.
This gave Haverhill (24-1) four Eastern Mass. Division 1 titles in a six-year span.
Twin towers Amy Veilleux (16 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks) and Shawna Murphy (15 points and 10 boards) did the heavy lifting while guard Chris Pelczar harrassed the Stoughton backcourt with six steals.
“We’re very happy to have this opportunity,” Woelfel said. “We plan on having a good time.”
After a 16-inch snowstorm postponed the state final for two days, it was hard to believe Woelfel and the Hillies enjoyed running into Amherst at the Centrum.
The 24-1 Hurricanes played a near-perfect first-half, soaring to a 51-6 lead before finishing off a 74-36 championship effort.
Parade Magazine All-American Jamila Wideman led the winning effort with 27 points.
10 years ago
Nate Stanton erupted for 18 points while Jay Cleary added 17 points and 8 rebounds, helping Salem break a two-year hex of Class L first-round eliminations by humbling Winnacunnet, 80-53. …
Shutting down Angela Santa Fe and dominant center Kari Geisler with a variety of defenses, 12th seed Timberlane rode 10-point efforts from Lauren Sickel and Jess Cegarra to a 36-32 upset of No. 5 Pinkerton in Class L first-round competition. …
New England wrestling champion Joe Fendone of Central Catholic was named MVC co-MVP. … In MVC track, Methuen’s Don Gibson and Haverhill’s Vincent Pettis were selected boys Division 1 and 2 coaches of the year respectively as were Central Catholic’s Rob Benedetto and Methuen’s Bill Blood on the girls side. …
Merrimack College goaltender Joe Exter was still listed in serious condition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center almost a week after a full-speed collision with a Boston College player left him with two skull fractures and swelling of the brain. Exter was chosen as a second-team All-Hockey East member. … After their first-ever 20-win season, the Merrimack College women’s basketball team earned a berth in the NCAA Division 2 tournament. …
Joseph E. Carney, Jr., president and owner of Rockingham Park, passed away after a long illness at the age of 70. …
20 years ago
Behind 15 points and 13 rebounds from Kelly Hunt, Londonderry advanced to the Class L finals by beating Alvirne – the only team to defeat Haverhill to date – 43-35. …
40 years ago
With Billy Folk’s 23 points leading six players in double figures, Northern Essex reached the finals of the Massachusetts Community College Athletic Association tourney by beating Quinsigamond, 88-71. The Knights fell to Mass. Bay in the title game, 67-59. Moving on to the Small College Conference playoffs, NECC earned head coach Jack Wysong his 100th career victory by battering first-round opponent Emerson College, 99-49 led by 28 points from Billy Pare.