Balanced Effort Earns Bishop Feehan Comcast/Board 27 Championship
By Nate Weitzer for Mass Prep Stars
MALDEN, Mass. – Over the past several seasons, Braintree and Bishop Feehan have raised the bar, as two of the premier girls' basketball programs in Massachusetts.
After winning their first Division 1 State Title last season and ending the dynastic Wamps’ 63-game winning streak along the way, the Bishop Feehan Shamrocks have begun to assert their prowess and stake their claim as the top ranked team in the state. On Monday afternoon, in the Finals of the 2017 Comcast/Board 27 Tournament, Bishop Feehan rose to the challenge and defeated Braintree, 52-46, in another competitive battle between the two programs.
The Shamrocks received great contributions and a balanced attack from a core group of seniors, led by standouts Katie Nelson and Emily Miccile, who both made several huge plays on the defensive end to spark fast breaks, as Feehan finished the game on a 7-0 run to earn a victory.
“Our seniors are special,” said Bishop Feehan head coach Mike Deady. “They really stood tall at the key juncture at the end of the game we made the plays we needed to make, particularly on the defensive end.”
Nelson (11 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks) and Miccile (6 points, 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks) made plays on one end and a group of juniors took care of the rest, as Anna Shaughnessy (17 points, 8 rebounds) and Marissa Fontaine (12 points 7 rebounds, 4 assists) played a nice high-low game to produce two huge buckets in the final minutes.
Senior guard Keelah Dixon paced the Wamps with 21 points, 15 of which came in the first half. After the Shamrocks opened the second quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 21-13 lead, Dixon and Jenna Roche (16 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists) sparked a 10-0 run to give Braintree a narrow lead, 25-23, heading into halftime.
Katie Nelson (l) and Keelah Dixon (r) are two of the state's best.
Nothing could separate the teams over the next 15 minutes, but eventually, Feehan stiffened on the defensive end and Fontaine hit a tough baseline jumper to make it 49-46 with under a minute to play.
“What a game Braintree gave us, just like they always do,” Deady said. “They really dictated tempo, slowed us down and made us earn it today. That’s a credit to [Braintree coach] Kristen [McDonnell] and their girls.”
Deady added, “That’s why we’re [at the Comcast Classic]. We’re here to play the best teams in the state. We did that today and it doesn’t get any tougher than this.”
Stars Who Shined
Anna Shaughnessy ‘18 F – The junior forward poured in 10 of the Shamrocks 12 first-quarter points and kept the team afloat with her tough play in the paint.
Shaughnessy beats the first-quarter buzzer.
Deady agreed that the Wamps defense focused much of their effort on Katie Nelson, which opened things up for Shaughnessy and others down low.
“For whatever reason, defensively, the Wamps came off of [Shaughnessy] a little bit and it was key for us. It kept us close,” said Deady. “They were focused on Marissa [Fontaine], Emily [Micille], Katie [Nelson] and Anna [Shaughnessy] was the person who got free.”
Marissa Fontaine ‘17 F – Flashing excellent ability as a rebounder and as a passer, Fontaine handed out a game-high four assists and patiently waited for her offense to develop, before stepping up late.
“Down the stretch, that was key,” Deady said about the high-low dynamic between Shaughnessy and Fontaine. “We were able to work a mismatch due to our size advantage and get some good shots in the fourth quarter.”
Fontaine with a big basket late for Feehan.
Katie Nelson ‘17 G – Nelson kept the Shamrocks offense in position to succeed, as she displayed her excellent ball handling and poised leadership, despite not having her best shooting day. Her ability to handle aggressive defensive pressure was paramount to the Shamrock's victory.
Nelson also came up with two huge blocks in the fourth quarter and added two free throws, with Feehan up 49-46 late, to seal the win.
Keelah Dixon ‘17 G – Dixon was dynamic in the first half and came up with a couple of great takes down the stretch, as she helped keep Braintree in the game throughout.
Adriana Timberlake ‘19 F – A shining bright spot for the future of Braintree basketball, Timberlake showed poise beyond her years while racking up 7 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists in the narrow loss.
She seemed to come up with every crucial 50-50 ball and made the correct play, which was impressive to see from a sophomore.
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