Mass. College Hoops: Holy Cross Tops UML In Fourth Annual “Get Fit with the Crusaders”

By WACBA Hoops (@WACBAHoops)

WORCESTER, Mass. – Lisa Mifsud’s (Erie, Pa.) 3-pointer with less than four and a half minutes to play ignited a 14-1 outburst to help lift Holy Cross to a 78-63 victory over visiting UMass Lowell in a non-conference women’s basketball matchup on Monday morning.

The game was part of the fourth annual “Get Fit with the Crusaders” event that saw a record crowd of 2,824, including an estimated 2,700 Worcester Public School children from 19 schools. The previous Get Fit record of 2,134 was set on January 8, 2013 against Brown. In all, the event has boasted 7,971 attendees, or approximately 1992 per game, in four years.

“As a Worcester Public school alum, this day is very special for me,” said head coach Bill Gibbons. “I want to thank everyone who helped make this day possible and would also like to thank the kids who supported us throughout the game. This was our biggest crowd yet for the ‘Get Fit Game’ and it was a great atmosphere for our team!”

Holy Cross head strength and conditioning coach Jeff Oliver, along with several Holy Cross student-athletes, gave a presentation at halftime about eating healthy foods and exercising. The official attendance number was the most for a Holy Cross home women’s basketball game since the all-time record of 4,000 was set on Feb. 11, 2006 against Bucknell.

The Crusaders, who are undefeated (4-0) in Get Fit games, pick up their third win of the season (3-8) while the River Hawks slip to 5-6 in its second season as a Division I program.

Raquel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) opened the game with six for the Crusaders while Jasmine McRoy (Gaithersburg, Md.) canned a 3-pointer for the guests in the first four-plus minutes of action.  The River Hawks eventually took a 7-6 advantage following a triple by Shannon Samuels (Windsor, Conn.) only to have Holy Cross reclaim the lead with a pair of freebies by Emily Parker(Johnston, Iowa) moments later.

“Coach Gibbons said before the opening tip that there should be an investigation if we don’t have energy,” commented Misfud. “I think the kids brought us a lot of energy. We came out [and] we executed well.”

UMass Lowell pushed ahead twice more before the hosts went on a 15-4 run to take a 26-16 lead with 7:56 left in the frame.  Holy Cross went on to increase its margin to 16 courtesy of a Molly Hourigan (Memphis, N.Y.) layup with 4:40 showing on the scoreboard. Brianna Rudolph (Lynn, Mass.) and Lindsey Doucette (Hopkinton, Mass.) each sank a 3-pointer during an 8-3 run to whittle the River Hawks deficit to 11 twice before the break.

McRoy opened the second half with the seventh UMass Lowell triple of the contest to pull within single digits (8) for the first time since 6:15 in the opening frame. Scott answered for the hosts and bookended another personal run, this time with an 8-1 outburst, with a pair of old fashioned three-point plays to increase the lead back to 14. After a pair of free throws by Kayla Gibbs (Teaneck, N.J.), the River Hawks cut the deficit back to single digits with 14:38 remaining. UMass Lowell continued to chip away and eventually pulled within a pair following Samuel’s layup with 4:30 to play. Ten seconds later, Mifsud canned a trey and later converted a pair of freebies before Scott finished things off with a pair of layups in the final 1:16.

“I think there were points in today’s game where it felt like our shots weren’t dropping or maybe they were getting their hands on loose balls,” remarked Scott. “Being a team and coming together, we controlled the ‘controllables’ today.”

Scott led all players with 26 points and 10 boards while Kate Gillespie (Washington, D.C.) scored 19 and Mifsud added 14 to go along with a game-best seven helpers. Katie Doherty (Holbrook, N.Y.) chipped in with eight and Hourigan tacked on six while Parker scored all five of the Crusaders bench points.  Hourigan also filled the stat sheets with three blocks, two assists and two swipes.

“After the UMass game, we had to regroup a little bit and I think this game was good for us because we played well and we played together as a team,” added Gillespie.

McRoy led a quartet of River Hawk double-digit scorers with 14. Rudolph came off the bench to sink 13 while Samuels (six assists) and Doucette (eight rebounds) each tallied 11 to go along with three steals apiece.

Holy Cross held advantages in the paint (38-18), off turnovers (24-19), second chance points (17-6) and fast break points (10-8). UMass Lowell enjoyed a 27-5 bulge in bench points.

The Crusaders travel to Stony Brook to face Norfolk St. and Western Michigan at the Seawolves Holiday Classic on Sunday and Monday, respectively. Both games are slated for 12:00 p.m. The River Hawks, meanwhile, host St. Francis (NY) at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 30.

Portion Courtesy Holy Cross Media Relations

Mass. College Hoops: WACBA Honor Roll (Week Five)


WORCESTER, Mass. – The fifth week of the college basketball season is officially in the books, and now it is time to unveil this week’s Worcester Area College Basketball Association (WACBA) honor roll.

Men’s Player of the Week: Sam Longwell (WPI, Sr.): Longwell collected double-doubles in both of nationally-ranked WPI’s victories last week.  The forward led all players with 17 points and 13 rebounds in the Engineers 65-53 road victory Monday at Newbury before posting game-highs of 19 points and 10 boards in a 75-61 home triumph over MCLA on Friday. Longwell, who also doled out a game-best four assists in the win versus the Trailblazers, drained all 12 of his free throw attempts on the week.  The senior now has four career double-doubles and moves into 19th place on WPI’s all-time scoring list with 1,156 career points.

Nick DaPrato (Clark, Gr.): In the Cougars’ lone game of the week, DaPrato pumped in a season-best 21 points on an extremely efficient 9-for-13 from the field in Clark’s 70-53 win over city-rival Worcester State. DaPrato added four rebounds, four assists and three steals with no turnovers in his 27 minutes of action. During  key game-altering stretch midway through the second half, DaPrato drained back-to-back, bumping the Scarlet and White lead from five to 11. He has scored double figures in all nine games this season and leads the team with 17.7 points per game.

Women’s Player of the Week: Raquel Scott (Holy Cross, Jr.): Scott had an excellent week for Holy Cross as she averaged a double-double with 25.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game to help the Crusaders go 1-1 on the week. Against ACC-rival Boston College, Scott recorded a double-double with game-highs of 26 points and 10 rebounds. She also sank two three-pointers and tied a career-high with four steals, which helped the Crusaders snap a 16-game losing streak versus the Eagles, which dates back to the 1998 season. At UMass, Scott totaled 25 points and 11 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season. She has now scored 25 points (or more) in three straight games, while she has scored over 20 points five times this season. Scott ranks fourth in Holy Cross history with 24 double-doubles in her career.

Trafficia Warburton (Anna Maria, Sr.): Warburton recorded back-to-back double-doubles on the week to tally her fifth and sixth of the season. The senior forward averaged 19.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game this week following a 27-point, 12-rebound performance against Western Connecticut and a 12-point, 11-rebound effort against Framingham State. Warburton posted a 34.9 percent shooting effort from the floor on the week.

Honor Roll:

Malcolm Miller (Holy Cross, Sr.): Miller totaled 12 points, four rebounds and two blocked shots against Hartford. He also recorded 17 points, three rebounds and two blocks in the Crusaders’ victory over NJIT. Miller connected on 84.6 percent of his free throws on the week (11 of 13), including a perfect 8-for-8 performance against NJIT.

Kamali Bey (Assumption, So.): In the team’s lone game of the week, Bey posted a 25-point, 13-rebound double-double to go along with three assists and two steals. He was also 11-for-14 at the free throw line as the Hounds mounted a second-half rally at SNHU.

Caitlin Ackerman (Assumption, Sr.): In the team’s lone game of the week, Ackerman posted a 16-point, 16-rebound double-double to go along with three steals and three assists.

Andrew Musler (Clark, Gr.): In his only game of the week, Musler scored 18 points on 7-for-12 shooting, including going 2-for-3 from behind the arc and 2-for-2 from the charity stripe as Clark topped city-rival, Worcester State, 70-53.

Rebecca Fluet (Fitchburg State, Sr.): Fluet scored a game-high 14 points while shooting 50 percent (5-of-10) in the Falcons’ 51-48 victory over WPI.

Jared Thompson (Nichols, So.): Thompson came off the bench to knock down four three’s en route to a career-high 12 points against Springfield. The secondo-year guard played 14 minutes – all in the second half – and also notched two rebounds, one steal and one assist.

Alexis Wegrzynek (Nichols, Sr.): Wegrzynek notched a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds in a come-from-behind win at Mitchell on December 11.

Bianca Langford (Worcester Stat, Jr.): Registered fourth double-double of the season with 16 points and a game-best 18 boards with five blocks in a 63-57 victory over Springfield. Connected on half of her shots in the win (7-14).

Paul Brooks (Worcester State, So.): Brooks averaged 14.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in a 0-2 week for Worcester State including 15 points in a 70-53 setback against Clark and 14 points, 13 boards and three blocks in a 95-52 loss against Western Connecticut.

Haili Welton (WPI, Jr.): Welton highlighted a balanced WPI attack in the Engineers’ matchup Tuesday against fellow 6-1 team Fitchburg State with nine points, three assists, three rebounds, a pair of blocks and two steals. The junior has had a breakout season for the Crimson and Gray averaging nearly 30 minutes per contest for coach Cherise Galasso’s squad.

Mass. College Football: Assumption Lands Four Players on BSN Super Region 1 All-Region Teams


After a successful college football campaign this past fall, four members of the Assumption College Greyhounds squad were named to the Beyond Sports Network (BSN) Super Region 1 All-Region Teams. Below is the release about the four members of the Assumption football team receiving this honor, courtesy of the Assumption Athletics Communication Department:

Worcester, Mass. (December 15) — Four members of the Assumption College football team have been named to the Beyond Sports Network (BSN) Super Region 1 All-Region Teams, as voted by the region’s head coaches and athletic communications directors. Seniors Derrick Mann (Sharon, Mass./Sharon) and De’Ontray Johnson (San Diego, Calif./Hoover) were named to the First Team, while sophomore Bakari Blunt (Mt. Pleasant, S.C./Burke) earned a spot on the Second Team and senior Jack Dustin (Foxboro, Mass./Foxboro) was an Honorable Mention selection.

Mann has earned a number of awards, including being named as the Worcester Area Football Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season, along with Northeast-10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year for the first time. Now a two-time Northeast-10 Conference First Team All-Conference selection and a New England Football Writers Association (NEFWA) All-New England player, he led the Northeast-10 in sacks with 14.5 and tackles for loss with 19.5 stops for 99 yards. This season, Mann piled up 68 tackles on 43 solo stops and 25 assisted tackles while also adding seven quarterback hurries, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries for 80 yards. Two of those fumble recoveries were taken back for touchdowns, which led the Northeast-10 Conference. He is also a Daktronics Super Region 1 First Team All-Region selection and last week, he was named as a finalist for the Cliff Harris Award, which is awarded to the “nation’s top small college defensive player.”

Johnson, a Daktronics Second Team All-Region honoree and Worcester Area First Team All-Star, was a Northeast-10 All-Conference First Team return specialist for the first time as well after picking up a pair of kickoff returns for touchdowns this season. In 14 kick returns this season, Johnson averaged a league-best 30.8 yards per return for a total of 431 yards on the season. His kickoff return touchdowns were from 91 and 95 yards, including the 95-yard return that came in the regular-season finale at Stonehill.

In addition to his play in the return game, he was the second-leading rusher on the team with 503 yards and four touchdowns in nine games. Johnson ended the season with 971 all-purpose yards, averaging a team-best 107.9 yards per contest.

Blunt, a First Team Worcester All-Star, was also a Northeast-10 First Team All-Conference honoree as he finished the season with a team-best four interceptions for 55 yards, including a 52-yard INT return for touchdown in a road win at Merrimack. Blunt finished fifth on the team in total tackles with 68 stops, including 43 solo tackles which tied for the team high. The cornerback also picked up one tackle for loss and a team-high 13 pass breakups, which tied for the Northeast-10 Conference lead.

Dustin was an All-Worcester First Team All-Star and a Northeast-10 First Team All-Conference honoree as he started all 11 games for the Hounds. He helped block for the top rushing attack in the Northeast-10 as the Hounds gained an average of 159.7 yards per game on the ground. The Hounds averaged 331.1 yards of total offense per contest and 423.6 all-purpose yards.

Mass. College Hoops: Holy Cross Women’s Basketball To Host Fourth Annual “Get Fit with the Crusaders”


For the fourth straight year, the Holy Cross women’s basketball team will host “Get Fit with the Crusaders.”

Courtesy of the Holy Cross Athletics of Media Relations Office, here is today’s release:

WORCESTER, Mass. – The Holy Cross women’s basketball program will host its fourth annual “Get Fit with the Crusaders” game on Monday, December 22 versus UMass Lowell at 11:15 a.m. in the Hart Center.

Over 2,300 students representing 16 Worcester-area schools will be in attendance to cheer on the Crusaders and learn about nutrition and physical activity.

“We are very excited about our fourth annual game,” said Holy Cross women’s basketball head coach Bill Gibbons. I would like to thanks Mark Berthiaume and Phil Giarusso from the Worcester Public Schools for all of their help with this event. This will be out biggest crowd ever and I’m looking forward to seeing the energy and enthusiasm from the students on Monday morning!”

The students will watch the Crusaders take on the River Hawks, and then at halftime Holy Cross head strength and conditioning coach Jeff Oliver and dietitian Kathy Egan will give a presentation about eating right and exercising.

Mass. College Football: Bentley’s Hill & Guadagnoli Receive All-Super Region 1 Recognition from Beyond Sports Network


Courtesy of the Bentley Sports Information Department, here’s today’s release about senior Jeff Hill and graduate student Danny Guadagnoli receiving All-Super Region 1 Recognition from Beyond Sports Network:

WALTHAM, Mass. – Bentley University senior wide receiver Jeff Hill (Mansfield/Mansfield HD) was named to the Beyond Sports Network All-Super Region 1 first team, and his quarterback, graduate student Danny Guadagnoli (Framingham/Framingham HS), received second-team All-Region recognition.

The six-foot-four Hill led the Northeast-10 in receiving yards (1,113) and TD receptions (12) during a season that saw him average 6.2 yards per game and 16.4 per reception (16.4). He had five 100-yard games and tied for 12th in Division II in touchdown catches.

Hill, Bentley’s first three-time first-team All-Northeast-10 honoree since current Dallas Cowboy lineman Mackenzy Bernadeau from 2005-07, finished his career as the third most prolific receiver in program history. He caught 200 passes as a Falcon, good for 3,489 yards and 37 TDs. Among football players who were active in 2014, only eight had more career touchdown receptions.

Second-team All-Region is latest honor for Guadagnoli, who has been chosen as the Offensive Player of the Year in the Northeast-10, the recipient of the Agganis Award from the New England Football Writers and the Division II Swede Nelson Award Winner by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston.

The three-year starting QB and two-year captain concluded his career number two in most of Bentley’s passing rankings with his totals including 9,175 passing yards, 69 TD passes and 9,702 yards of total offense. This past season, he broke the school record for passing yards for the second straight campaign, finishing with 3,443 along with 31 TDs.

Bentley won four of its last five in 2014 to finish at 5-6 overall.