By Brian Willwerth
BOSTON, MA – They’re celebrating a Division IV state title in Hull, Massachusetts this evening, as Hull High School used a strong inside game en route to a 59-55 victory over New Mission at TD Garden on Monday afternoon.
The first quarter was the Nicole Heavern show, as she helped the Pirates score their first five points of the game, and ended with a game-high 27 points.
“It was an amazing game, and it feels amazing,” said Heavern. “We took advantage of their height disadvantage and kept going down low and it worked for us.”
The Titans came storming back in the second quarter. They used an 8-0 run to take a 17-14 lead. The lead changed hands several times throughout the rest of the quarter. New Mission hit its first 3-pointer of the game with 13-seconds left in the half to send the teams into the locker rooms tied at 26.
Free throws were a key part of the contest. The Pirates were [27-39] from the charity stripe, compared to [4-9] for the Titans.
“I think the size was the only difference in the game,” said New Mission head coach Greg Berry. “We tried to make it a fast-paced game, and sometimes when you late-rally, the glass slipper comes off and Cinderella goes back to her normal self.”
The Pirates came storming out of the gate in the third quarter, as they went on a 10-1 run, highlighted by Heavern’s old-fashioned three-point play. The Titans struggled offensively, scoring just one point through the first five minutes. New Mission didn’t make its first field goal of the quarter until 2:08 remained.
The intensity and excitement levels picked up in the fourth quarter. The Titans went on an 11-3 run to pull within one with 4:45 to go. But New Mission never could get over the hump. The teams traded one big basket for another. Hull survived two more 3-pointers from New Mission in the final seconds, but the Pirates did eventually hang on for a 59-55 victory, setting off a large celebration among their players and fans.
“I just told the kids to stay mentally tough,” said Hull head coach Elizabeth Londergan. “I told them to keep pushing the ball…to their credit, they came up with some key defensive plays at the end.”