Girls basketball makes state semi-finals

Spencer Coveney, Staff Writer

The varsity girls basketball team’s season came to a heartbreaking end March 11 at Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a loss against their toughest opponent, Medfield, 59-52, in the state semi-finals. Students came in droves, and tears were in the eyes of many once the final buzzer sounded.

“We knew we had to start strong because they have really good energy,” junior Reagan Keaveny said.

With the Hillers losing at the end of the first quarter, it was apparent that Medfield was not going to be an easy opponent. The Medfield fan base deafened the Hiller fans in attendance.

“We weren’t really shooting well, worst we have shot all year. We played good defense, but our offense needed some improvements,” Keaveny said.

The girls, down 12 at halftime, went into the locker room with heads held high.

“We knew we needed to settle down and just focus on us, not worry about what they were doing,” Keaveny said.

Early into the second half Greco called a timeout after a preventable turnover. This timeout was a turning point in the game.

“We knew what needed to be done,” Keaveny said. The baskets started to fall and Hopkinton made an impressive run.

The fourth quarter looked promising for the Hillers until the team ran into more bad luck. Starting point guard Emma LaCascia had to leave the game due to a knee injury.

With 2:19 left in the fourth, senior captain Mikayla Pucci collaborated with junior Cali Korbey to produce crucial plays, scoring four consecutive points to cut Medfield’s lead to 10 points with 2:19 left in the game.

With time running out the team tried to use what they were blessed with.

A quick layup by Pucci and a free throw by junior Ivy Gogolin with 1:49 left made the score 54-47.

With a minute left, a full court press followed by a layup by sophomore Lilly Morningstar left the Hillers down 44-39. The full-court press was not enough, and the Hillers accepted defeat.

“They know everything about us, and we know everything about them,” Pucci said. “It makes it harder to play with them knowing everything. They had a really good strategy; they are well-coached.”

The girls finished 20-3 with two of the losses being to Medfield. Pucci averaged 12.5 points a game and senior Julia Canestrari averaged 12.6 a points a game.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the way they have handled adversity this season,” head coach Mike Greco said. “Even in the games we have won, some teams have made runs against us, and we’ve been able to regroup.”

As  manager, junior Halley Keefe saw the team through all of its ups and downs.

“Their record of 20-3 is a huge improvement from last season. It’s great to see them with consistently,” Keefe said. “As the team manager I notice all the small details, Since I go to every game I can really tell when someone is playing well.”

Athletic director Dee King said the season was a resounding success.

“They are next level. They work hard and practice hard. They created fantastic chemistry. They have a coach with a lot knowledge,” King said.