Another chapter in the 9th grade Jaguars vs. Swish rivalry was added this weekend in Springfield at the Basketbull Hoop Hall tournament. Some of the players on the rosters have changed, but the spirited competition still remains.
After the MPC Swish went through pool play undefeated winning all games by double digits against the Bay State Jaguars (9th), New England Crusaders (10th) and Rising Stars (10th), the Bay State Jaguars exacted their revenge on Sunday with a 51-49 victory in the championship over the Swish.
After a back and forth first ten minutes, the Swish grabbed some breathing room towards the end of the first half thanks to some great interior offense from Tess Sussman (Rivers) and Anna Shaughnessy (Bishop Feehan). Shaughnessy scored all of her 12 points in the first half. Sussman had six first half assists.
Both teams were plagued with foul trouble throughout the game, and both teams fought through some injuries. It was a classic Jaguars-Swish battle, with many bodies hitting the floor and multiple momentum swings.
The Swish took a 28-22 edge into halftime, but the second half belonged to the Jags, spearheaded by sensational guard Asiah Dingle (Archbishop Williams). Dingle was a menace off the dribble, rebounded well for her position and was crafty defensively with her quick hands.
The Swish stayed stuck on 36 points for seemingly an eternity, meanwhile the Jags methodically added to their lead behind great rebounding and scoring in the paint.
Down 48-41 with under two minutes to go, Swish put one last great run together behind tenacious defense and timely shooting to tie the game at 49 after a Kaylin Reen (Norwood) 3-pointer.
Kendall Currence (Falmouth Academy) navigated through some tough defensive pressure from the Swish to get into the lane and draw a foul. She calmly sank both free throws to give the Jags the 51-49 edge.
The Swish had its chances on the ensuing possession after a Reen three-pointer rimmed out and a Sussman put back also rimmed out. For added drama, a Sussman half court heave at the buzzer bounced off the rim.
Notable Championship Performers:
Asiah Dingle (Archbishop Williams /Bay State Jaguars) – The Jags will go as far as this talented guard will take them. On the weekend, she displayed her flashiness on offense and her craftiness on defense. She went to the hoop at well, showcasing her ability to seamlessly switch directions on the bounce. Defensively, she is disruptive with her quick hands and her willingness to get on the floor for the loose ball. It was a big time opening weekend for Dingle. She finished with a game high 13 points.
Kendall Currence (Falmouth Academy / Bay State Jaguars) – After sitting most of the first half, Currence came out in the second half and provided that additional ball hander/scorer that the Jags needed. Her relentless pursuit to get to the rim and knock down outside shots put the Jags over the top. She finished with 10 points.
Ashley Ducharme (Noble & Greenough / Bay State Jaguars) – After a relatively quiet game by her lofty standards in pool play against the Swish, Ducharme dominated the glass on both ends in the championship. If she wasn’t gathering the boards for herself, she was keeping possessions alive for her teammates to come in and keep possessions alive. Her activity in the championship may have been the biggest difference from the day before.
Anna Shaughnessy (Bishop Feehan / MPC Swish) - Shaughnessy was well on her way to huge game before she was plagued with foul trouble towards the end of the first half that followed her into the second half. She moved around to open spots in the Jaguars zone, and had great touch en route to 12 first half points.
Tess Sussman (Rivers / MPC Swish) – Sussman torched the Jags zone in the first half with her patented fantastic interior passing, setting up her teammates for easy buckets. She was also very comfortable handling the ball and did a nice job on the boards. She finished with nine points and stuffed the stat sheet in other categories.
Nicole Gallagher (Bishop Feehan / MPC Swish) – The only player on the court that never stepped foot off of it, Gallagher was a pest defensively for 32 minutes and led the Swish in scoring (along with her classmate Shaughnessy) with 12 points. Gallagher shouldered the load on both ends guarding Jags top guards and handling some point guard duty with Jenna Roche (Braintree) not 100% healthy.
Kiera Fernandes (Worcester Academy / MPC Swish) – Fernandes played her role perfectly off the bench. She came into the game and provided a scoring punch (nine points), supplied some toughness and did a nice job on the glass. She saw extended minutes due to her effectiveness and tenacity. She has a history of stepping up in this series, and this weekend was no exception.
- The Jags victory halted a Swish five-game win streak (Spring ’14 / Spring ‘15) over the Jags dating back to last spring, which started at this very tournament. Prior to the Swish hot streak, the Jaguars won seven in a row (Spring ‘13/ Fall ’13) over the Swish. This series is fun and has its swings.
- Swish newcomers Jenna Roche (Braintree), Erika Ochenduszko (Rockland), Jenn Butka (North Quincy) and Megan Hill (Mansfield) got their first taste of the rivalry this weekend and were all contributors. Hill got in foul trouble, while Roche battled illness/injury.
- Eighth grader Toni Geisel (Thayer Academy) stepped up for the Jaguars and proved that the 9th grade stage is not too big for her. She contributed some timely baskets for the champs and had a few other shots that rimmed out. She has the proper demeanor for high level AAU.