By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports & @Noontime_HS
Saturday will be a busy day in Massachusetts with 16 high school basketball teams vying for eight state championships.
Holy Cross and WPI will be the sites of this year’s Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) state championships with games tipping off at 12 p.m.
Before all eight games commence, let’s dish out our thoughts on each contest, as well as our predictions, too.
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MIAA State Basketball Championship Predictions
MIAA D1 Boys Final: Lynn English vs. Putnam (6:45 p.m. @ Holy Cross): The Bulldogs were just the better team on Tuesday when they beat Newton North in the state semifinals. Alonzo Linton was one of many players that powered the Maroon and White to the team’s 22nd victory of the season. Linton should be a factor on Saturday against Putnam, which must find a way to slow down him and others on this Lynn English team. PREDICTION: Lynn English
MIAA D1 Girls Final: Braintree vs. Springfield Central (2:15 p.m. @ Holy Cross): For the third-straight March, the Wamps and Golden Eagles will meet in the finals. Jaliena Sanchez highlighted Springfield Central’s win over Franklin on Tuesday with 32 points and should be a factor against Braintree on Saturday, which needed a second-half surge to beat Central Catholic. PREDICTION: Springfield Central
MIAA D2 Boys Final: Tech Boston vs. Taconic (2:15 p.m. @ WPI): Tech Boston’s Shamar Browder was very impressive against Belmont on Wednesday, netting 19 of his 30 points in the second half, while Lyron Bennet was extremely clutch from the charity stripe, especially in the fourth quarter. Both players will need to mimic their performance on Saturday against Taconic, which pushed ahead for good against Westboro in the second half of its semifinal contest. Tech Boston won their meeting with the Braves last year, but Taconic should be motivated to erase last year’s setback with a win over the Bears this weekend. PREDICTION: Taconic
MIAA D2 Girls Final: Pentucket vs. Northampton (4:30 p.m. @ Holy Cross): The Sachems’ full-court press and transition offense seemed to be one of many reasons the Green and White was able to secure the lead for good against Pembroke on Wednesday. Look for a big game from Pentucket’s Angelica Hurley, who finished Wednesday’s semifinal with 19 points and nine rebounds. PREDICTION: Pentucket
MIAA D3 Boys Final: Bishop Stang vs. Dover-Sherborn (12 p.m. @ Holy Cross): Everything seems to be clicking for Dover-Sherborn these days. The Raiders have scored some impressive wins over the past few weeks to secure a spot in the championship game, including recent victories over Sabis in the state semifinals and Hudson, which was the top seed in the D3 Central Tournament. Their luck should continue against the Spartans in their first championship appearance since 1981. PREDICTION: Dover-Sherborn.
MIAA D3 Girls Final: St. Mary’s of Lynn vs. Hoosac Valley (12 p.m. @ WPI): Alexandria Mercier has been the go-to this season for the Hurricanes, especially earlier this week when she canned a game-high 22 points against Millis in the state semifinals. Mercier, along with Alison Mendel will be a tough duo to stop on Saturday and should find a way to lead Hoosac Vallet past a Spartans squad that overcame a nine-point deficit to defeat Archbishop Williams at the Garden on Wednesday. PREDICTION: Hoosac Valley
MIAA D4 Boys Final: Abington vs. Worcester Tech (6:45 p.m. @ WPI): The Green Wave was rather impressive Tuesday – they rallied to beat Pope John at the Garden, thanks to a late three-pointer from William Klein, which secured Abington a spot in this year’s championship game. The Green Wave will need to play the way they did down the stretch against Pope John to beat a talented Worcester Tech squad. PREDICTION: Abington
MIAA D4 Girls Final: Cathedral vs. Hopkins Academy (4:30 p.m. @ WPI): Dejah Jenkins will attempt to cap her senior year with the Panthers by delivering Cathedral its second state title in three seasons. Cathedral beat Fenway en route to its D4 crown in 2017, so expect the same to happen this time, as well. PREDICTION: Cathedral
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With the win, the Warriors advance to the first round, which is scheduled for Saturday, March 2nd, to face the winner of Cambridge–Pembroke, which will compete this evening in at 6:40 p.m. at the Hobomock Arena.
Lexie Turner netted a hat-trick in the win for the Warriors, while Brynn MacPherson recorded three assists and one goal. Dana Smullen recorded her 11th shutout with 10 saves.
“(It) was a good win, but bigger games ahead,” said Matignon coach Anthony Cornacchia, who has guided the Warriors to a 14-5-2 record this winter.
Yesterday’s win extends the Green and Gold’s winning streak to five games, dating back to a 7-0 win earlier this month over St. Joseph Prep/Mt. Alvernia.
Matignon is now 2-1 in preliminary rounds, dating back to the 2016-17 season. They last won a first-round game in 2016 when they edged Milton, 5-4, before advancing two more rounds to the D2 semifinals where they would fall to Notre Dame Academy by a score of 9-3. NDA would advance to the championship round where they would defeat Wellesley, 3-1, at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
Somerville’ Austin Pacheco netted the Highlanders’ lone goal on Tuesday in a 4-1 setback to Boston Latin. (PHOTO COURTESY: Matt Noonan
By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11
Austin Pacheco netted Somerville‘s lone goal of Tuesday evening’s tilt with Boston Latin late in the third period, but the late marker didn’t ignite a comeback, as the Highlanders fell to the Wolf Pack, 4-1, in the opening round of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) D2 North Tournament at Ryan Rink in Watertown, Massachusetts.
Tuesday’s loss snapped a two-game winning streak for the Highlanders, which included a Mulloy Tournament championship six days ago when Somerville beat Essex Tech in Everett.
Boston Latin secured an early lead in the first period before Jeff Monahan and Frank Linso padded the Purple and White’s advantage with back-to-back tallies late in the second to provide the Wolf Pack with a 3-0 lead.
Damon Alexander extended Boston Latin’s lead to four goals early in the third period before Pacheco buried a feed from Chris DeSousa and Dylan Zracket with 2:30 remaining.
With the win, the Wolf Pack secured a date with Stoneham on Friday, March 1st in the quarterfinals. The game will be a rematch of last year’s D2 North championship, which saw Stoneham edge Boston Latin, 2-1.
Stoneham secured a rematch with the Wolf Pack by defeating Winthrop this evening in the opening round by a score of 6-2.
Somerville concludes its season with nine wins, which matches the Highlander squad from the 2014-15 that advanced to the postseason, but fell to Marblehead in the opening round.
Additionally, the Highlanders concluded its second season in the Northeastern Conference (NEC) with a 4-2-3 mark, which was good enough for 11 points.
“The boys played hard all game,” said Somerville coach Kevin Wilson shortly after his team’s 2018-19 season concluded. “(They) never gave up … I am proud of them for not giving up. It was a great learning experience.
“Latin played a good system, so hats off to them … again, it was a great learning experience.”
The Somerville varsity boys’ ice hockey team is headed back to the postseason for the first time since the 2012-13 season. (PHOTO: Matt Noonan)
By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11
For the first time since the 2012-13 season, the Somerville boy’s ice hockey team is heading back to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) state tournament, thanks to a 7-1 win last night over Everett on the opening day of the Mulloy Tournament.
With their six-goal win last night, the Highlanders improve to 8-6-5 overall to clinch the program’s first winning season since posting a 10-7-4 mark during the 2012-13 season.
Reaching the postseason has been a goal for third-year coach Kevin Wilson, who knew his team had a chance to clinch a playoff berth following an impressive 5-2 win last week over Hamilton-Wenham, which was highlighted by senior Chris DeSousa‘s 100th varsity point.
“They are all hard workers and have been busting their butts all week and all year long,” said Wilson when discussing his team’s desire to achieve its preseason goal of reaching the postseason this winter.
“This was a goal we all wanted,” he added.
Wilson came close to guiding the Highlanders to a postseason appearance last winter, but the Highlanders struggled down the stretch and finished five points shy of the 20-point mark, which would have secured them a spot in the MIAA D2 North Tournament.
One year later, Wilson and his crew are headed to the postseason, thanks to some impressive performances over the past few weeks.
Somerville is scheduled to compete against Essex Tech on Wednesday, February 20th in the Mulloy Tournament Championship – the game will be held at Allied Veterans Rink in Everett at 7 p.m. – before beginning hopefully a lengthy postseason journey next week.
Similar to Somerville, Essex Tech also secured a spot in the postseason last night with a 3-0 win over Northeast, which was highlighted by Chris Masta‘s 100th career point (two goals, one assist) in a Hawks uniform.
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