Braintree vs. Westford Academy
Overview - We said this week that whoever won the Lynn English/Braintree game would be state champ so we are sticking to our prediction. However, Westford is no push-over with Sam Hyslip and Hannah Hackley leading the way. Recently named Gatorad POY Ashley Russell has been fantastic and the Wamps are a team on a mission right now.
Coaches take - Russ Coward, Westford Academy
1. What has been the key to your team's success this season?
Senior leadership and experience in tough games would be the first key, followed by a tough schedule. I think the DCL was much improved this year, and I feel we played one of the toughest non-league schedules in the state.
2. What concerns you about Braintree going into the championship game?
EVERYTHING. Seriously, they have size and speed and strength and passing ability and shooting ability and experience and toughness and great coaching. You stop one thing, they can go to seven other things. And they have four kids who will likely play D1 or D2 college basketball with kids off the bench who knock down threes. Yeesh!
3. Everyone knows about the stars on your team, but who has been the most unheralded player for you this season and why?
Well, everyone knows about Sam Hyslip and Hannah Hackley, but I think Rebecca Sennot and Cathryn Sennot have had tremendous seasons for us. Their defense and shooting ability have been outstanding and have won games for us when other teams have collapsed on Sam in the post ... specifically our last two tourney wins against Holy Name and Springfield Central where both hit big threes and free throws and put a lot of pressure on the other team's offense.
Im pretty sure people who scout us or play us are very aware of them, but I think the average fan probably doesnt realize how good they are.
4. What has been the most enjoyable part of this journey to the state title for you?
Well, we ended the season on a rough note ... loss to braintree, beat archies a day later, then lost at Feehan two days later ... so to watch the team come together and really play our best basketball of the season these last two weeks has been pretty spectacular to watch. our point guard, Karly Bigham, went down in the first minute of the game against Braintree and didnt come back until our first tourney game against Acton, but the team seemed to really rally together around her
return and we've been a really good team since then. its just great watching us play even better than anyone on the coaching staff really hoped we could play.
Prediction - Braintree by 8
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