WALPOLE – Medfield's girls' basketball team never led at the end of any of the four quarters against Oliver Ames Wednesday as the Tigers defeated the Warriors, 53-47 in the championship game of the Rebel Hoop Classic.
Despite first glance, however, there were nine lead changes throughout the course of the game, but Medfield was never able to get over the hump and sustain a lead. The Tigers beat the Warriors to take the tournament title, improving to 15-5 overall. Medfield suffered its second loss of the season, falling to 20-2 overall.
"Every time we snuck a little lead, we certainly had trouble scoring offensively," Medfield head coach Mark Nickerson said. "It felt like we didn’t have any chance of extending it. We had a pretty tough time with them. They’re a pretty well balanced."
The Tigers were able to stay balanced offensively. Three players reached double figures in scoring. Sophomore forward Caitlyn Abela dropped 11 points and junior forward Candace Steadman added 15. The tournament's Most Valuable Player award, though, went to Nicole Bostic, who scored 17 points in the second game of the tounament. Steadman was named as a tournament all-star.
OA head coach Elaine Clement-Holbrook said the Tigers did a good job counteracting a balanced Warrior attack.
"They had a full compliment in terms of inside-outside presence, so we really had to pay attention in terms of making sure they didn’t beat us up inside as well as making sure we guarded the perimeter so they couldn’t get that three ball," she said. "I think that was a really good test for us defensively."
Medfield senior captain Maddie Bouchard led the Warriors in scoring with 12 points and was named to the tournament all-star team, but it wasn't enough for a Medfield team that will look to bounce back from the tough loss in the division 2 state tournament next week.
"We have a lot of time to practice between now and our tournament game, which probably isn’t going to be until the end of next week," Nickerson said. "We’ve been playing well all season long. It’s not that we played poorly tonight, but this is the type of team we’re going to have to beat in the tournament."
For OA, which started four underclassmen Wednesday night and has been playing with a young lineup throughout the course of the season, everything seems to be clicking at exactly the right time. The Tigers have won eight straight, including a win against then-undefeated Mansfield in the Hockomock Crossover game last week.
Clement-Holbrook said the whole team, from the starters to the players who work hard in practice, should be proud of their accomplishments.
"We really want to peak at the right time," she said. "Knowing that we were so young in the beginning, we were just trying to move in the right direction. The kids have been so willing to do what we have asked them to do."