Fenway exploded for 20 points in the fourth quarter en route to a 49-34 victory over Shawsheen in the Division 4 North title game Friday night at Emmanuel College in Boston.
Junior Tajanay Veiga-Lee led the charge, netting 6 of her 12 points in the quarter. Freshman Jalissa Ross also contributed 3 fourth-quarter points, and finished with a game-high 16 points to go with 11 rebounds and 5 blocks.
“I just think the impact of the game brought all of her tools out,’’ Fenway coach John Rice said of Ross. “She showed all of her tools tonight, all her weapons. She’s one of the top freshman in the state and she’s only going to get better.’’
Fenway came out with strong defensive pressure to put Shawsheen on its heels. The Panthers opened the game in a full-court press, dropping into man-to-man coverage. They forced Shawsheen into multiple turnovers, disrupting its offensive rhythm. Fenway held a 16-10 lead after the first quarter.
“We don’t have a long bench so I was trying to decide our [defensive] strategy,’’ Rice said. “We can do different things defensively to spark some intensity in my kids, which we wanted to do early on instead of sitting back.’’
Shawsheen switched its defense in the second quarter, throwing different zone looks at Fenway. The Rams limited the Panthers to 7 second-quarter points. Strong inside play from junior Stephanie Champoux and outside shooting from senior Jamie Mahoney helped cut Fenway’s lead to 23-19 at the half.
Shawsheen opened the second half with a 3-pointer from junior Arianna Medeiros. A Fenway turnover led to a jumper from Champoux, which gave the Rams their first lead of the game at 24-23 less than a minute into the third quarter. Rice immediately called a timeout to settle his team.
“We made some adjustments,’’ Rice said. “We recognized their shooters during that timeout. We wanted to make sure we identified their shooters on the perimeter.’’
The adjustments worked as Fenway took a 29-26 lead into the final quarter, where the Panthers began to pull away. Three-pointers from Veiga-Lee and Chandlor Lyles, and the inside presence of Ross, put Fenway on the road to victory.
Fenway will play Greater New Bedford in the state semifinals Tuesday at TD Garden.
“These kids are so excited,’’ Rice said. “It’s just a lot of fun.’’