Fenway’s fullcourt pressure was giving Coyle & Cassidy fits. A double-digit cushion in Tuesday’s Division 4 state semfinal had been trimmed to 6 points.
In their first appearance at TD Garden since 2011, the Warriors needed a play.
Kassidy Fields delivered a few. The junior forward snared a pair of steals and flicked a pivotal outlet pass, freeing up Samantha Hourihan for a three-point play, halting Fenway’s 8-0 run. And the Warriors were on their way to a 55-47 win, earning the program’s first trip to the state final since the 1987 title run.
Coyle & Cassidy (22-3) will play the Maynard-Monson winner for the state title Saturday in Springfield.
Fields (9 points, 7 rebounds, 5 steals) was complemented by classmates Kaylee Haynes (12 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists), Rachael Johnson (12 points, 4 rebounds) and Samantha Hourihan (9 points).
“If you want to be a good team that’s what good teams do,” Coyle & Cassidy coach Michael O’Brien said of his team’s late surge. “Someone stepped up. It gave us a little more momentum and then everyone else responded.”
In the Division 4 South final, the Warriors upended two-time reigning state champion Cathedral, 83-77 on taking a 15 point lead early, but fell behind before pulling out the D4 South title. Fields knew her team could not give up a lead again.
“I think we all knew from last game that we learned from it,” Fields said. “We had to just keep playing hard, and that’s what we did.”
The Warriors opened up with a 9-0 run and when Fenway (21-3) rattled off five quick points, Coyle stood firm. Fenway made another their final push late, an 8-0 four quarter run cutting Coyle’s lead to just 44-38 before Fields helped put the game out of reach with her poised play..
“This is the best team we’ve faced all year, no question about it,” said Fenway coach John Rice.
O’Brien said he was ready for Fenway’s comeback, but was confident in his team’s ability to respond to adversity.
“We knew they were going to make that run at the end of the game, but we hit some big shots down the stretch,” O’Brien said.Greg Levinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.