The opportunity was there for the taking, but shots simply didn’t fall for the Sandwich girls basketball team in its home playoff game on Tuesday, February 25.
Hosting the 11th-ranked Dedham Marauders in the Division 3 South Sectional first round, the sixth-seeded Blue Knights suffered from shooting woes for large stretches throughout the game, but a stingy defense kept them fighting until the end. When the final buzzer sounded however, it was the Marauders who advanced the quarterfinal round with a 47-37 win.
“I have no complaints about the work ethic tonight, but we missed a lot of shots,” Sandwich head coach Marty Cosgrove said after the game. “We missed a lot of bunnies. I think we need to hit a couple early to get our confidence up. Sometimes I think we can get caught in ruts.”
Offense came at a premium for both teams as the visitors jumped out to a 10-8 lead after the first quarter of play. But in the second quarter Dedham looked to its star forward, Avery O’Connor, for scoring. She struck for 10 points, including two made 3-pointers, as the Marauders took a 25-17 lead into halftime.
Senior forward Lauren Condon scored seven of her 11 points in the first half to keep Sandwich within striking distance. Then the second half came and suddenly the little scoring the Knights rung out in the first half dried up. Junior forward Sarah Lutsic scored the team’s only field goal of the third quarter and Grace Cohen’s made free throw were the only points for the Knights.
Two 3’s from Hannah Huntey lifted Dedham to a 36-20 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“It was just a matter of putting the ball in the basket,” Cosgrove said.
Down, but not out, the Knights used their physicality on both ends of the floor to chip away at the Marauders’ lead. Lutsic played with a ferocity in the paint, getting to the free throw line seven times in the fourth. She scored a game-high 12 points on the night, and nearly got O’Connor out of the game early with foul trouble.
“Sarah is a great talent. If she continues to work at it, I think good things will happen for her. She definitely has the potential to be a collegiate player,” Cosgrove said. “We were hoping to get [O’Connor] off the floor. That certainly would’ve helped our cause to get her out of the game.”
But the Dedham forward sat only momentarily before heading back to the hardwood with four fouls. She scored four points down the stretch to finish with a game-high 21 points. Katelyn Kramer, Sierra Brigham and Cohen all finished with four points for Sandwich while Ryann Cobban put up two points to account for the rest of the Knights’ scoring.
“I’m disappointed in the outcome, but never disappointed in our kids,” Cosgrove said. “Lauren busted her tail tonight. She worked hard. Vic McGittigan always works hard. Riley and Grace, the kids play hard defense. We should be proud of what we accomplished this year.”
The Marauders advanced to meet third-seeded Middleboro (16-5) in the Division 3 South Sectional quarter finals , Friday, February 28 at 6:30 PM. The Sachems scored a 46-37 win against No. 14 Apponequet in the first round.