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HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS' BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK

North Quincy girls’ basketball standout Orlagh Gormley proving to be one tough player to stop

Even when surrounded by the opposing defense, North Quincy's Orlagh Gormley has the drive to attack the basket.Matthew J Lee/Matthew J Lee/Globe staff

Students at North Quincy can tell if it’s game day for the girls’ basketball team by watching Orlagh Gormley. The sophomore captain takes pregame focus to another level, absorbing herself in her headphones outside of class, tapping her foot in anticipation, and bopping her head to Drake in warm-ups.

“I feel like it’s like my mind-set most of the time — just being locked in for anything and just being prepared for the game,” she said.

The energy unleashes once the ball goes in the air. The 5-foot-6-inch point guard has electrified every court she’s touched for the 6-0 Raiders this season.

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Gormley is averaging 27.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 5.8 steals per game, including a 48-point triple-double and a 24-point, 13-steal performance. No matter how opponents guard her, they can’t seem to stop the sophomore ― and she relishes the puzzle.

“It’s difficult, but it’s fun, because usually defenses will change it up on you,” she said. “You have to adjust and just keep going.”

Gormley charges at the rim with a fury akin to Russell Westbrook, one of her favorite NBA players. But she says her toughness and nose for the ball have been cultivated through Gaelic football, a popular Irish sport that contains elements of soccer, basketball and rugby. Her parents are Irish immigrants who met in the US, and they raised Gormley and her two siblings on the field.

“In Gaelic football, you have to get aggressive, and there’s not really foul-calling,” Gormley said. “It’s like [you’re] attacking the goal, so I would say that’s like me attacking the basket.”

The Gormley family has become a basketball household. Orlagh’s older sister, Aoibhe (pronounced like Ava), a junior guard at Thayer Academy, has committed to Boston University. Her brother Eoin played basketball at Catholic Memorial and is now a Boston College freshman. The three have waged countless battles on the backyard court.

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“There are a couple of times my parents had to come out and say we all had to come in, because the neighbors were going to complain,” Aoibhe said. “None of us like to lose.”

North Quincy interim coach Matt Ramponi remembers the first time he saw Gormley’s competitive drive in a game setting. In a December scrimmage against Dedham senior Avery O’Connor, who has committed to New Hampshire, Gormley did not back down.

“Right when we get on the court, [Gormley said]: ‘I want to cover her full-court, all game,” Ramponi said. “That is what really set the tone for this whole year coming out the gate.”

Ramponi came on board three days before the start of the season after Paul Bregoli was placed on leave. It was a whirlwind week that took a level of trust from the team to start on the right path. He says Gormley bought in from the first practice, and the rest of the team followed suit.

“For them to buy in to me — I thank them every day at practice,” he said. “I thank them every day, because they didn’t need to do that.”

Gormley, plus fellow captains Ava Bryan and Bridget Capone, never took time off, even when North Quincy hit a two-week pause because of the pandemic. The three hit the Quincy YMCA at 7 a.m. for extra workouts.

“The fact that she would put that time in, along with the other girls, when they didn’t have to — I didn’t even know about it,” Ramponi said. “That just spoke volumes.”

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Gormley is the team’s floor leader and top scorer. But she’s far from a one-person unit. Bryan scored 13 points Tuesday in the 51-38 win over Hanover, frequently converting the shots Gormley set up for her.

“[Gormley] can score obviously, [but] then she makes passes that make everybody else inclusive, and that shows how good all the other teammates can be,” Bryan said.

Spectators usually won’t hear Gormley on the court; she’s a quiet leader who supports her teammates with quick high-fives and short conversations during stoppages. But her whip-around passes and acrobatic finishes prompt roars from the crowd.

“She wants to run that ball down your throat,” Ramponi said. “That’s her mentality. It’s just pressure, pressure, pressure.”

In addition to her 5.8 steals per game, sophomore Orlagh Gormley averages 27.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists for unbeaten North Quincy.Matthew J Lee/Matthew J Lee/Globe staff

Courtside chatter

▪ Chelmsford senior captain Ellen Angwin — the top student in her class — is averaging 16.9 points and 8.1 rebounds for the 6-0 Lions.

Angwin, also an accomplished four-year soccer player, will play basketball at Carnegie Mellon University next year. First, her focus is on leading No. 18 Chelmsford to a Merrimack Valley Small title.

She made great improvements to her game this offseason and has established herself as one of the top players in one of the best leagues in the state.

“As the only returning starter, Ellen is the unquestioned leader of our team,” Chelmsford coach Mike Crowley said.

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▪ Winchester (7-1) is on the hunt for its first winning season since 2011 and believes it has the pieces in place to make a deep tournament run.

The team features seven returning players, including senior captains Carmen Kelcourse, Ava Ciaccio, and Isabella Ryan, and sophomore standout Emily Collins. Kelcourse is a calm and poised point guard, Ciaccio is someone who’s always in the right place, and Ryan is an elite defender.

Collins, a Middlesex League All-Star as a freshman, is averaging 16.3 points and 10 rebounds per game this season. Junior Claire English is an elite rebounder and has improved as a shooter.

Coach Sam Mosley credited her players for building chemistry and working on their craft in the offseason, and she’s thrilled with how the results have come to fruition so far.

Their best win came over previously undefeated Malden Catholic, when they attacked the rim relentlessly and made 21 free throws. While the hot start has been gratifying, they hope their best basketball is still to come.

“Everyone works hard during practices and games, and they push each other to reach their highest potential,” Mosley said. “This team is ready to get back into the winning mind-set.”

▪ No. 10 Whitman-Hanson (7-0) is hoping to capture its first Patriot League title since 2010. The Panthers, who were 15-7 in 2020 and 9-4 in 2021, are holding opponents to 30.4 points per game this season.

Led by senior captains Abby Martin, Lauren Dunn, and Meg Stone, among other key players, they’ve established themselves as a frustrating team to face.

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“Defense is our No. 1 thing we rely on,” coach Michael Costa said.

▪ Five players from the Bay State have been nominated to the McDonald’s All-American games: Sofia Berisha (Winchendon), Shay Bollin (Bridgewater-Raynham), Lola Lesmond (Worcester Academy), Kayla Lezama (Nobles), and Jennifer Martin (Bradford Christian). The teams will be revealed on Jan. 25.

Jay Keane earned his 150th win Tuesday as Malden Catholic outlasted Notre Dame (Hingham), 66-55. Central Catholic’s Casey Grange captured her 100th basketball win Tuesday following a 70-43 triumph over Dracut.

Games to Watch

Thursday, Hanover at Walpole, 5:45 p.m. — Walpole won three straight after starting 2-2 and will look to maintain momentum against the Hawks.

Friday, North Quincy at Pembroke, 6 p.m. — The No. 13 Raiders hope to keep the mojo on their side against a tough Titans squad.

Monday, Bridgewater-Raynham at Needham, 12 p.m. — The Rockets will host the No. 8 Trojans as part of their Coaches vs. Cancer event.

Monday, St. Mary’s at Lynn English, 6:30 p.m. — The No. 2 Spartans are state title contenders, and the Bulldogs will look to prove they also belong in the discussion.

Tuesday, Bishop Feehan at Bishop Fenwick, 6:30 p.m. — In a battle of Bishop schools, Fenwick will try to slow down a high-octane Feehan offense.