BRIDGEWATER – Bridgewater-Raynham was able to bounce back from a narrow three-point loss to Needham on Monday to take down one of the top five teams in the state 48 hours later with a 49-44 win over St. Mary’s (12-2).
The Trojans broke out to an 18-3 lead after the first quarter of play and held on in a key non league victory behind a team-high 16 points from sophomore Natalia Hall-Rosa, who added seven rebounds and four assists. Hall-Rosa also hit one of the five three-pointers in the first frantic eight minutes that led to the huge 15-point breakout lead for the 7-2 Trojans.
“Slowing it down and pulling it out – If I’m driving and they close (the paint) in, just pull it out, look at the floor, see who is open, keep cutting, and just keep moving”, said Hall-Rosa who is filling big minutes for the injured senior duo of Shay Bolin (Duke) and Amber Silva.
St. Mary’s was just as responsible for the huge deficit as was the blazing shooting from the Trojans. As hot as Bridgewater-Raynham came out of the gates, the Spartans were the frozen 180-degree opposite.
The Spartans were faced with a zone defense from the opening tip, which was a surprise, as the Trojans traditionally play a man-to-man defense on most teams. The Spartans collectively shot 0-11 from behind the arc before Yirsy Queliz snapped a three at the 5:08 mark of the second quarter.
“Straightforward they wanted the game more than we did. We didn’t get off the bus obviously but once we started playing, we couldn’t hit the shots we’ve been hitting all year,” said St. Mary’s head coach, Jeff Newhall. “Yirsy played excellent. I have no complaints with her, and listen, it wasn’t from a lack of effort after the first quarter. When you are playing your rear end off like that on defense – you need a few buckets to keep you playing.
Queliz did just that as the junior guard tallied five treys en route to a game-high 21 points with 10 coming in the second quarter alone. Queliz and Kellyn Preira (9 of her 15 points in the second) helped the Spartans chip away to a 26-22 halftime deficit.
St. Mary’s continued to build momentum and got within one, 32-31, as Queliz hit her fourth three-pointer with 1:10 left in the third quarter. But that is where the comeback came to a halt as the Spartans led only once all game, 2-0, in the first seconds of play.
Hall-Rosa matched Queliz from downtown with her own three-bee and freshman Jenna Micciantuono picked the perfect time to pick up her lone bucket of the game to give the Trojans the 37-31 lead after three quarters of play.
Preira finished with 12 rebounds off the glass for the double-double for the Spartans while senior Dana Possick was the steady eddy point guard with 14 points for the winners.
“Natalia had one of those games that when she is that determined self, I think there are very few kids that can compete with her on that level. Going into this we knew this was going to be a heavyweight battle,” said Bridgewater-Raynham head coach, Cheryl Seavey. “We knew we had to be prepared to absorb some blows and in the first quarter – we gave some blows – but we knew they were going to come back. You don’t beat a caliber of team like St. Mary’s just saying ‘ok, ball game is over’ so we knew they were going to fight back and we just had to make sure we had enough intestinal fortitude to withstand their blow and come back.”
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