Pembroke girls roll into Division 2 South sectional final
For the Pembroke High girls’ basketball team, it just keeps getting better.
After claiming their first Patriot League Fisher Division title, and setting a program-high in wins, the Titans continue to raise the bar.
Backed by a game-high 17 points from senior captain Jayne Howe, and a tenacious defensive effort, fourth-seeded Pembroke stunned top-seeded Foxborough, the defending Division 2 state champion, 50-24, in the Division 2 South semifinals at Bridgewater-Raynham High.
Pembroke (19-4) earned its first ever appearance in the Division 2 South sectional final on Saturday at 11:45 a.m. in Taunton, where the Titans will face the winner of Thursday’s semifinal between second-seeded Hingham (19-3) and sixth-seeded Old Rochester (18-4).
“You’re always surprised because it’s never happened here,” said Pembroke coach Tim Lopes. “It’s been a year of firsts. We’ve never been this far. It’s hard to get this far.”
The Titans took control in the first quarter, leading 13-9. Howe got to work in the second, knocking down a trio of 3-pointers, outscoring the Warriors (20-3) by herself, 9-5, as the Titans opened a 30-14 cushion at the halftime.
“Our top priority was to beat Foxborough,” said Howe. “This was a really big win for us. We had a lot of momentum and we were ready for this game.”
The third quarter featured much of the same with Pembroke forcing six turnovers and extending its lead to 42-20. Foxborough never mounted a threat as Pembroke held sophomore guard Katelyn Mollica, the Warriors’ leading scorer at 18.6 points per game, to just 3 points on the evening.
“That was the No. 1 goal, to shut her down,” said Lopes. “We went physical with Bella Pizzi on her, then we went speed with Abby Obermann.”
The Titans knocked down seven 3-pointers and corralled 9 offensive rebounds in the win.
“You just got to pinch yourself and hope you can keep it rolling,” said Lopes.
Division 4 South
Carver 57, Cohasset 41 — When the 12th-seeded Crusaders (14-9) needed a basket, it was Emma Simmons who delivered as the junior tallied 17 points on 8-for-15 shooting to spark the victory over 16th-seeded Cohasset at Taunton High.
“She’s been a real go-to girl for us this year,” said Carver coach John Rozen. “We know Cohasset never stops fighting so we said if we got the lead, we can’t take our foot off the gas.”
The Crusaders ended the second quarter on an 9-2 run, hitting their final four shots to pull ahead by 14 points at the break. Sophomore forward Madelyn Mueller had 11 of her 15 points in the first half and had a pair of late baskets in the second quarter.
Defensively, Carver overwhelmed Cohasset with an aggressive man defense, forcing the Skippers (12-11) into 23 turnovers. Molly Greer led Cohasset with a game-high 18 points and 9 rebounds.
Division 1 North
Belmont 51, Andover 44 — The top-seeded Marauders (22-1) earned a rematch with Central Catholic at the Tsongas Center in Lowell on Saturday in the Division 1 North final after dispatching the No. 4 Golden Warriors (18-5) at Belmont High School.
‘‘Having been there before is going to [make things] different,’’ Belmont coach Melissa Hart said. ‘‘Central Catholic has been to Tsongas . . . a lot in the last 10 years. And last year was our first time in the arena for a lot of girls. I think that mystique has gone away.’’
A 19-point second quarter gave Belmont a 29-21 lead at halftime lead, and that was difference. Freshman Bridgette Martin and senior Jane Mahon led the Marauders with 8 points apiece.
Belmont dominated the boards and limited Andover to its lowest point total since Feb. 8.
‘‘We are tough on the boards, we go to them . . . it took away Andover’s transition game because I know they like to really throw the ball up the court,’’ Hart added.
Andover senior Gia Bramanti led all scorers with 12 points.
Division 2 North
Tewksbury 52, Melrose 49 — Lizzy Gallella scored 21 points to lead the host Redmen (19-3) in a back-and-forth semifinal. Second-seeded Tewksbury erased a 3-point deficit in the fourth quarter to earn a trip to the Division 2 North final against top-seeded Pentucket on Saturday at Tsongas Center.
Division 3 North
Amesbury 65, Lynnfield 50 — Despite a slow start for both teams, and a 1-point differential at the half, senior Flannery O’Connor scored a game-high 24 points for the Indians (17-4), who kicked it into high gear late to top the Pioneers (14-9) at Whittier Tech in Haverhill. Second-seeded Amesbury will face fourth-seeded St. Mary’s on Saturday at the Tsongas Center in Lowell.