Ask Dracut coach Peter Witts about Lamees Alasaad, and he’ll say the junior guard is the “best defensive player in the state.”
Standing at just 5 feet, 3 inches, diving on the floor for loose balls, and pulling down rebounds among the trees, Alasaad saved her best moment for last Monday night.
After picking off a pass in the final minute, Alasaad put the sixth-seeded Middies in front for good with a tough layup, powering Dracut to a 50-47 comeback win over second-seeded Medfield in a Division 2 girls’ basketball semifinal at Worcester State.
FINAL: No. 6 Dracut 50, No. 2 Medfield 47— Mike Puzzanghera (@mpuzzanghera) March 13, 2023
The Middies pull off the upset, and Dracut is heading to the D2 state final! Tremendous game between two great teams.@GlobeSchools @LadyMiddies @dracutmiddies pic.twitter.com/V0EbNf81qb
It’s Dracut’s first trip to the state final in program history. The Middies (20-6) will face fifth-seeded Foxborough (23-1) at Tsongas Center at a date and time to be announced.
“I just really wanted to make history,” said Alasaad, who finished with 12 points. “Our coach gave us a whole talk in the locker room. It was so fun.”
The Middies trailed from the opening basket, as Medfield (22-2) flew ahead with a 9-0 run spanning the first and second quarters. The Warriors’ lead got as large as 9 in the first half.
Dracut stormed back to tie the game in the third, keyed by 6 Alasaad points and countless hustle plays. The Middies took their first lead of the day heading into the fourth.
“We were playing for each other tonight,” Witts said. “They’re sisters, and that’s what they did. We were a family tonight. That makes a difference when you’re playing basketball.”
Seniors Emma Felker (game-high 14 points) and Ashlee Talbot (8 points, 6 assists) each hit 3-pointers to open the fourth for Dracut, and senior Amaya Alkassar (6 points, 15 rebounds) added a layup to stretch Dracut’s lead to 8.
But the Warriors rallied. Powered by a 3-point play from senior Kate Olenik (11 points) followed by a contested layup from freshman Tess Baacke (8 points, 8 rebounds), Medfield tied the game at 47 before Alasaad snatched victory for Dracut.
“She’s just one of those high-energy, works her butt off, great team players,” Witts said of Alasaad. “She had a big offensive game for us.”
Freshman Izzy Kittredge led the Warriors with 12 points.
Foxborough 51, Walpole 34 — Foxborough knew every extra possession would matter against defensive-minded Walpole with a state championship berth on the line.
With hustle plays on defense and critical second chances late, the fifth-seeded Warriors took charge in the second half and upset top-seeded Walpole in the Division 2 semifinals Monday at Bridgewater-Raynham. Foxborough advances to the state championship game for the first time since sharing a co-championship in 2020.
“Defense has kind of been our mainstay all season,” Warriors coach Lisa Downs said. “Our offense comes in ebbs and flows, but our defense — these girls work their butts off every minute that they’re on the court.”
Junior captain Camryn Collins was the engine for the Warriors (20-1), compiling 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 steals in an impressive display of two-way tenacity.
“She’s just so athletic, and a lot of the steals that she was a catalyst of turned into a bucket for us,” Downs said. “She’s really the catalyst out there.”
Both teams set physical tones from the opening tip. Foxborough led at the first and second quarter breaks, but neither side held a lead of more than 4 points. Collins scored a quick 12 points in the first half and used her quick-twitch drives to spark the Warriors when their offense sputtered.
In the third quarter, it was Collins’ defensive hustle that helped turn the tide. The junior dashed and dove for a loose ball, gathered it, and passed out from her legs, eventually leading to a Kailey Sullivan layup that ignited the Warriors’ crowd. After Walpole opened the second half with 5 straight points to take a 23-22 lead, Foxborough responded with 8 straight.
“That’s just Warrior ball,” Collins said of the steal. “We go in there and practice day-in and day-out, working hard, and we didn’t want to end our season short. So we just had to get it done.”
Hustle plays helped the Warriors get to a double-digit lead. Collins chased after her own miss, grabbed an offensive rebound, and dished it to Sullivan for a 3-pointer. The next possession, Sullivan followed up her own missed 3-pointer with a rebound and connected on a floater.
Addie Ruter scored all 8 of her points in the fourth quarter and dominated on the glass, helping Foxborough win the frame, 21-9.
“[Second-chance points], that’s something we really work on, because if we’re one-and-done every time, we’re not going to win many games,” Downs said. “So we have to make sure that we’re anticipating a miss.”
Haley Brigham scored 9 points to lead Walpole (21-3), and Izzy Adams, Brooke Walonis, and Catie Hurley had 7 apiece.
The Warriors only have two seniors, but maturity beyond their years has them advancing.
“I think it was just [about] having pride in our game, and knowing that we could win this game, knowing that we had all the strength to do it,” Collins said.
Globe correspondent Ethan Fuller reported from Bridgewater-Raynham.