KSC Thunder found itself in a familiar place for the second year in a row: in a tight NEAAU D1 state title game against the Bay State Jaguars. In 2014, the Thunder suffered a one-point loss. In 2015, the Thunder returned the favor to the Jags winning a close one, 49-47.
The Thunder had experience in nail biter games having just knocked off the Mass Gym Rats in the semi-final earlier in the night, 41-39. Brittany Gacicia scored the game winner with about seven seconds left to put the Thunder in the final.
“The championship game against the Jaguars was great from start to finish,” said KSC Thunder head coach Matt DellaBarba. “They have such a talented team.”
Megan Marcel was a key player in the championship and Coach DellaBarba cited her leadership. “She has really stepped up vocally and taken a large leadership role on the team,” said DelleBarba of Marcel.
Down seven in the second half of the championship game, Olivia Martin went on a personal 7-0 run for KSC Thunder to tie the game.
Other notable players were Ryley Blasetti, who did a great job with her perimeter defense, and Jordan Hue with her ability to control the tempo and knock down clutch free throws. Brittany Gacicia played well on both ends in the victory.
As we’ve learned, teams need more than just a few players to step up to win the big tournaments. This team used its depth to overcome some stiff competition.
“We have preached all season that we are 1 through 10 and everyone has to make plays,” said DellaBarba. “Dorothy Tilden, Holly Reeder-Morning, Caroline Kenney, Kendall McDonald and Liz Slein really stepped up throughout the whole tournament to make big plays and help regain momentum.”
Congrats to KSC Thunder for the victory and we look forward to watching this team continue to succeed.
G – Jordan Hue, Mashpee
G – Ryley Blasetti, Hingham
G – Dorothy Tilden, Hanover
G – Kendall McDonald, Plymouth
F – Brittany Gacicia, Hanson
F – Olivia Martin, Hanson
F – Holly Reeder-Morning, Kingston
F – Caroline Kenney, Norwell
C – Megan Marcel, Plymouth
C – Elizabeth Slein, Scituate
This MPC Swish team is young, athletic, super talented and this past weekend completed a clean sweep of MA state titles by winning the NEAAU and Zero Gravity D1 tournaments.
On Friday night, the Swish beat Mass Attack in the semi-final game 40-30 before beating Bay State Magic Elite, 36-26.
The Swish swarmed all over the court defensively while staying patient and efficient offensively on Friday night en route to the NEAAU championship.
There was little time to celebrate, as the Swish had an 8am game Saturday morning in the Zero Gravity state tournament. The Swish opened up the ZG tournament with a victory over KSC Thunder 40-29. The Swish also took care of its second game in pool play defeating Bay State Magic B, 31-6.
On Sunday, the Swish squared off with a talented and big Bay State Jaguars team. Due to great depth and toughness, the Swish held off the Jags, 33-29.
Mass Attack won its semi-final game to set up a rematch with the Swish who won on Friday by 10. The ZG final was a more competitive game as Swish held on for a 33-30 victory behind some timely late offense.
“I can’t believe we won all three,” said head coach Jim Reen, who also including the NEAAU Super Regional victory from earlier in the season. “I am pumped for the girls and MPC. Every player contributed along the way.”
This team really has a lot of great depth and has a roster with a little bit of everything.
1 – Lydia Mordarski, Mansfield.
2 – Mia Mancini, Mansfield.
3 – Samantha Reen, Norwood.
4 – Erin Reen, Norwood.
5 – Maren Giambanco, Norwood.
12 – Ally Steeves, Norwood.
20 – Samantha Rogala, Norwood.
21 – Meghan Rapose, Bellingham.
23 – Kiara Cerruti, Canton.
25 – Erin Sullivan, Norwood.
31 – Megan Olbrys, Norwood.
32 – Camryn Fauria, North Attleboro.
Zero Gravity Division 1 and NEAAU D2/D3 Girls MA State Tournament Champions
ZG D1: MT Elite
NEAAU D2: NE Rebels
NEAAU D3: Berkshire Mountaineers
NEAAU D2: Team BSB – Kiser
NEAAU D3: MV Roadrunners
ZG D1: Bay State Jaguars
NEAAU D2: GBL Lady Lions
NEAAU D3: Bay State Jaguars
ZG D1: KSC Ducks
NEAAU D2: Springfield Lady Ballers
NEAAU D3: MV Roadrunners
ZG D1: NH Rivals
NEAAU D2: Springfield Lady Ballers
NEAAU D3: Evolution – RB
ZG D1: Boston Bobcats – Vine
NEAAU D2: NE Rebels
NEAAU D3: MV Roadrunners
ZG D1: MPC Swish
NEAAU D2: NC Blaze
Champion: Bay State Jaguars
Final: Bay State Jaguars 49, MT Elite 44
Final Four: Bay State Jaguars 58, Cape Cod Bulls 55; MT Elite 73, South Shore Shamrocks 50.
Champion: Boston Showstoppers
Final: Boston Showstoppers 51, MA Huskies 43
Final Four: MA Huskies 52, NE Crusaders 35; Boston Showstoppers 47, United Conquerors 46.
Champion: Mass Premier Swish
Final: Mass Premier Swish 57, Bay State Jaguars 43
Final Four: Mass Premier Swish 52, Bay State Magic 41; Bay State Jaguars 62, MPC Blue Fire 54.
Champion: MT Elite
Final: MT Elite 44, Bay State Magic Elite 36
Final Four: MT Elite 51, NE Crusaders 35; Bay State Magic Elite 61, KSC Ducks Emerald 49.
Champion: KSC Thunder
Final: KSC Thunder 49, Bay State Jaguars 47
Final Four: Bay State Jaguars 53, NH Rivals 43; KSC Thunder 41, Mass Gym Rats 39.
Champion: MPC Harney
Final: MPC 55, Lady Elite Basketball 25
Final Four: MPC Harney 45, KSC Ducks Sapphire 30; Lady Elite Basketball 29, MA Huskies 22.
Champion: MPC Swish
Final: MPC Swish 36, Bay State Magic Elite 26
Final Four: MPC Swish 40, Mass Attack 30; BSME 30, Mass Gym Rats 22.
It’s a lot easier playing with a lead rather than trying to play catch up. MT Elite 8th grade girls’ team jumped out to early leads in both the semi-final and final game and never looked back en route to the NEAAU MA D1 State Championship.
MT Elite defeated reigning champion New England Crusaders (51-35) in the semi-final and then Bay State Magic Elite (44-36) in the championship. Bay State Magic Elite had beaten MT Elite six straight times before Friday’s championship game.
In the win against New England Crusaders, MT Elite was led by Sarah John (15 points), Amanda Minsk (8) and Sam Hourihan (8). Bay State Magic Elite defeated KSC Ducks 61-49 in the other semi-final matchup.
In the championship, Norton trio Rachael Johnson (12 points), Kassidy Fields (9) and Sarah John (7) led the scoring drive for MT Elite. Sam Hourihan was an eraser with 11 blocks.
"There were no easy games," said head coach Missy Traversi. "Each team presented a different challenge with multiple threats. After coming up short the last two years, these young girls were on a mission this year."
This MT Elite squad earned the title in a great Final Four field that included great teams and great players. This is a very deep class with a lot of fun teams to watch.
This team is the first in the MT Elite program to win a D1 MA state title.
MT Elite Roster:
Nataliya Amaral – Walpole
Bea Bondhus – Franklin
Jacqueline Conroy - Norton
Emma Eberhardt – Sharon
Kassidy Fields – Norton
Shannon Gray – Franklin
Samantha Hourihan – Bridgewater
Sarah John - Norton
Rachael Johnson – Norton
Kawai Martin – Lexington
Amanda Minsk - Walpole
Abby Struminski - Attleboro
Another successful NEAAU MA D1 girls state championship is in the books. For the second year in a row, NEAAU concluded some of its age levels on a Friday night two weeks after the pool play and the elite eight, giving teams ample time to prepare.
This year only the fifth-eighth grade divisions were held until Friday, May 15th because of prom season and other high school events for the older girls.
Here are some quick notes from the Friday night final four.
- The 8th grade division had four amazing girls programs with some of the area’s top coaches. It was evident that one team stood out on this night, and it was MT Elite. This team doesn’t have a particular star player that stands out more than her teammates, but the sum of its parts set MT Elite apart on this night. They have steady ball handling, size, players that play with high energy, scrappers, shooters, depth, gamers. They were very enjoyable to watch as they lead each game wire-to-wire on the evening. You give a college coach two weeks to prepare, and perhaps that’s the performance everyone should expect. Hats off to Missy Traversi, her staff and hard working players.
- On the losing side, Bay State Magic Elite is built very similarly to MT Elite and has the talent to beat any team on any given night. Faced with some adversity in the semi against KSC Ducks, BSME turned up the full court pressure and used its depth to pull away. They shot a lot of 3’s, which tells me that they typically make them, but it wasn’t their night from downtown.
- For Bay State Magic Elite, a player that was a stand out to me was Alexis Rothmann. She was slated to play in the Select Hoops Showcase, but had to back out last minute so I had never seen her play and only heard about how good she is. While watching the game I had to ask around to find out who number 33 was, and sure enough it was Rothmann. She has great ball handling skills, pushes the tempo, snaps passes and is explosive. Enjoy her on the bball court while you can, because word is that she is a national level soccer player and typically those players ultimately specialize on the pitch.
- On the other side for the Ducks, number 56 had her moments of greatness. She is another player I was not familiar with, so I had to run to the scorer’s table to find out her name during a timeout – Adiza Alasa from Rockland. She is the first person you notice on this Ducks team because of her unmistakable big hair (Rockland people and their hair – see E. Ochenduszko’s Rapunzelesque pony tail) and because she wears the number 56. Alasa comfortably knocks down outside shots, can take slower opponents off the dribble, or back down weaker ones.
- The 7th grade championship final minutes were just bananas. Admittedly, I am not too familiar with the individual players at this age level, but there certainly were some good ones. The Jaguars boasted some good size, while the Thunder guards and wings seemed to be superior skill wise. The last few possessions were chaotic with turnovers, missed shots, referee discrepancies and timeouts. KSC Thunder survived as the Jags had a few chances with out of bounds plays to win the game, but came up short. I look forward to learning the players in this game, because it was loaded with talent.
- The MPC 6th grade team is an absolute wagon. They are huge, skilled, unselfish and they compete. They rolled to a 30-point victory over Lady Elite Basketball to win its second straight title. This team is a bunch of gym rats that play with an immeasurable amount of pride. It’s hard to pick out a stand out in a 30-point win, but lefty Cassie Davidson from Easton seemed to be able to do it all. She can score, make full court passes, rule the glass and even stepped in to take a charge on the biggest player on the court.
- In the 5th grade, two of my favorite coaches squared off in a matchup between Jim Reen’s MPC Swish and Pat Russell’s Bay State Magic Elite. It was the second time these two faced off in this tournament and MPC Swish earned the sweep. The Swish full court pressure and depth proved to be the difference. Lydia Mordarski from Mansfield was extremely impressive. This long, athletic guard is great at attacking the basket and is equally comfortable finishing with both hands. She will be one to keep an eye on for years to come.
- AAU basketball has grown considerably over the past 10 years. Not to sound like an old fart at 30 years old, but back in my day only truly elite players played AAU. MAYBE two or three kids from the same town would play. Now, there are about 200 teams and 20 organizations in a 60-mile radius, of all skill levels.
It has more pros than cons. It puts the basketball in more kids hands and provides opportunities for those players that strive to make their next winter team to get better and receive different coaching in the spring and fall.
Because of the growth of the sport, there are a lot of great circuits and tournaments out there for various levels of play.
The elite level is still there and it is very fun to be a part of. The NEAAU MA D1 state tournament is the only true barometer of where a team ranks in the state and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The NEAAU D1 is sanctioned by a governing body that regulates players are in the proper grade/age and it truly draws the best teams from RI, MA and parts of NH. There are a lot of awesome tournaments/circuits out there, but there is only one that guarantees the greatest competition amongst the area’s best – the NEAAU MA D1 state tournament.
A group of Norton girls (Rachael Johnson, Kassidy Fields, Sarah John, and Jacqueline Conroy) are helping to run a local fundraiser to raise money for their AAU basketball team (MT Elite). The proceeds will go towards the team traveling to compete in the U.S. Nationals this summer in D.C.
The event is this Saturday, May 16th, at Trinity Bar and Grill in Norton from Noon until 4:00 p.m. Trinity has generously offered to donate a portion of the sales generated from anyone who presents the attached flyer during this time period . There will also be raffles for gift baskets, Red Sox tickets, and TDA driving lessons along with other exciting merchandise donated from friends of the team.
Please join us at Trinity for lunch and some fun this Saturday. The girls will be working the event, helping with the raffle and would be thrilled to see their friends and families. Hope to see you there!
To download hard copy, click on the link below:
The MPC Swish earned its second straight MA D1 state tournament title with a 57-43 victory over the Bay State Jaguars in the 9th grade division. For the second straight year, the Swish defeated all opponents by double digits en route to the title.
On Saturday, MPC Swish left no doubt in its first two games defeating Mass Ducks (77-26) and United Conquerors (69-47) to earn the number-1 seed for bracket play and a bye into the Elite 8.
The MPC Swish drew Mass Mavericks in this round and after only leading 3-0 for the first six minutes, the Swish opened things up en route to a 61-20 victory.
In the final four, the MPC Swish drew Bay State Magic Elite and created a rematch of last year’s final four. BSME proved to be a formidable opponent due to their toughness, shooting and defense. BSME was very well prepared to play the Swish, but the Swish survived 52-41 thanks to a better second half performance and playing better defense that it had in the first half.
The Swish advanced to the championship to set up a rematch of last year’s title game against the Bay State Jaguars. Like last year, the game was very close for the first 10 minutes of the game before MPC Swish ran away with it, 57-43.
The front court duo of Anna Shaughnessy and Tess Sussman got the offense going for the Swish as Sussman repeatedly found Shaughnessy for easy buckets in the paint, shredding the Jaguars zone defense. Shaughnessy has been the Swish’s rock all season with strong post play on both ends.
Nicole Gallagher was the offensive catalyst from the backcourt as she connected on three 3-pointers and scored in a variety of ways going to the basket.
Point guard Jenna Roche put an exclamation point on her best weekend in a Swish uniform by playing mistake free ball and setting the tempo. She put the finishing touches on the victory as she nailed both free throws following a flagrant foul as she sliced to the lane for a lay-up and got shoved in the back.
The Swish also received a strong game from Erika Ochenduszko. The inside-outside wing scored, played great defense and cleaned up on the boards – especially on the weak side.
Swish bench fire power Kaylin Reen and Kiera Fernandes each played solid minutes and threw in a 3-ball apiece in the win. Post player Megan Hill continued her impressive season by providing quality minutes in her first D1 MA state title game. She is rapidly becoming one of the best well round post players in the state regardless of age.
To watch complete championship film, follow this link: http://www.krossover.com/intelligence/shared/554ead741dcff
Swish championship game highlights:
Other Odds & Ends
- Bishop Feehan players play hard. I get to watch Gallagher and Shaughnessy on regular AAU basis, and appreciate the way they compete. I witnessed Lauren Manis (MT Elite) and Katie Nelson (Honey Badgers) tussle for a loose ball and Manis fired it off Nelson’s stomach and the ball caromed out of bounds to regain possession. I thought it was a bit much, but the way Nelson didn’t bat an eyelash makes me think that that’s how those kids get after it during practice at Feehan.
- Speaking of Feehan, in that same game wing Emily Miccille buried a game winning 3-pointer for an exciting ending to an overall exciting game. Miccille was robbed a few possessions prior from the same spot, but calmly sank this one to solidify the “W” for MT Elite.
- Sticking with MT Elite, I didn’t see a better true point guard than Norwood’s Meghan Reen on the weekend. Before I get accused of favoritism for my bias towards my winter stud, I define true point guard as a player that makes it hard for her coach to take her off the floor, makes her teammates better by pushing pace and setting them up, calling sets when things break down and picking spots to score. Reen is an A+.
- Although I don’t necessarily consider Keelah Dixon (Braintree) a true point guard, she had it working for the Jaguars every time I caught them play this weekend. In the final four against the MA Huskies, she put her team on her back at times with some fantastic finishes in the paint and great shooting. Worth noting, her teammate Allie Morin (Westwood) also helped lead the charge against the Huskies with some sharp outside shooting.
- In the semi-final 9th grade game, BSME’s Emma Squires (Tabor Academy) really stood out. She played very good defense and was able to find holes in the Swish defense en route to 14 points. She is a long wing that has great touch.
- A great run worth noting is the one that the MPC Blue Fire 9th grade squad went on. After going 0-2 in pool play, Paul Mordarski’s Blue Fire went on to beat the Rhode Island Breakers and Boston Showstoppers to get to the Final Four. While in the semi-final game, MPC gave the Bay State Jaguars all they could handle and even held a slight lead in the second half.
Rivers 6'4" junior center Julia Thissell has given her verbal commitment to Providence College. JT is a two-time Class A All-New England selection out of Rivers that jumped onto our radar with the most dominant performance to date in our 2nd annual SH Showcase. Thissell's Rivers squad has advanced to the semi-finals of Class A twice and the finals once. Thissell was named to the Rivers Holiday All-Tournament Team.
JT has been a staple on one of the most dominating AAU teams in the region, the RI Breakers coached by Jim Edgehill.
All posts written by Alex DaLuz unless otherwise noted.