The Medfield High School girls' basketball earned a first round bye as the Division 2 South Sectional State Tournament's number one seed and now are ready to tip-off tourney play against Bishop Feehan Wednesday at Medfield High.
(8) Bishop Feehan (14-6) vs. (1) Medfield (20-2)
, Medfield, 7 p.m.
Division 2 South Sectional State Tournament, Quarterfinal Round
The Warriors earned the number one seed in the Division 2 South bracket after turning in a 20-2 regular season, but are coming off their second loss of the season against the defending Division 2 State Champions, Medfield will look to get back to its winning ways Wednesday in the win-or-go-home format. It won't be easy as the team hosts a tough Bishop Feehan team from Attleboro.
Bishop Feehan enters Wednesday's game fresh off a 74-51 first round victory over Duxbury Monday. The Shamrocks finished second in the Eastern Athletic Conference behind Martha's Vineyard and has won 7 of their last 10 games. Here's breakdown of each team:
Medfield: The Warriors have been dominant this season, finishing unbeaten in the Tri-Valley League for the second time in three years and having a strong group of players, including TVL Player of the Year, sophomore forward Jen Narlee. The goal for Medfield this season is the ultimate prize: a state title, but a successful tourney run would be advancing past the Semi-Final round of the South Sectional field. In 2010, the Warriors beat Hingham, 59-38 in the first round, Scituate, 58-32, in the quarterfinal round before losing to Fontbonne Academy, 60-31 in the semi-finals. Medfield was seeded fourth in last year's tourney with a 17-3 record and without standout center, Natalie Dickinson.
This year, the team has lost just twice in 22 games: 60-58 against Fontbonne Academy in Medfield and 53-47 against Oliver Ames in the Rebel Hoop Classic title game in Walpole. Both teams are the types of opponents the Warriors will face in the tournament so it will be up to Medfield to pinpoint what led to those losses and correct those issues before the 7 p.m. tip-off Wednesday. Dickinson is back with the team this season and provides a tremendous talent on both sides of the ball. Standing at 6-foot-3 also makes her extremely difficult for opponents to match-up with and defend.
Medfield prides itself in its defense but has come along nicely on the offensive side of the ball, working both the transition game and half-court offense, led by point guard Kate Wasley and the presence in the paint of Narlee and Dickinson. Captain Hillary Collins provides 3-point range as does Lauren Petit and Kristin Fechelkotter.
Bishop Feehan: The Shamrocks are back in the state tournament after falling to Fontbonne Academy, 68-60 in the 2010 Division 2 South Sectional quarterfinal round after beating Sharon, 63-62 in overtime in the first round. Bishop Feehan was seeded ninth last season at 13-7 and is seeded eighth this season at 14-6. The team is averaging 59.2 points per game and giving up 52.1 per game on defense.
Prediction: This is a great match-up between two very strong basketball programs. Bishop Feehan, statistically, fields the better offense but Medfield has one of the best defenses in the tournament, surrendering just over 34 points per game. Medfield head coach Mark Nickerson said before Wednesday's game the key to winning in the tournament is executing the "little things" better than the opponent.
"We've talked about how when you get to this point, every team you play is going to be good and their talent is going to be as good as our talent and it's going to be who's playing hard, who's playing physical and who's executing and hopefully we can do that," Nickerson said.
The Warriors have been preparing for this game since its Feb. 23 loss to OA, working on fine-tuning its offense and defense and focusing on end-of-game type situations the team will likely run into in the tournament. Bishop Feehan already has a win under its belt in the tournament and travels to Medfield looking to upset the No. 1 seed in the field. Bottom line, the Shamrocks will present a challenge and keep this game close but Medfield's defense and first game in the tournament at home give the Warriors the advantage. Medfield to win and advance to the semifinals.
Smith's state tournament prediction record: 2-0
Smith's regular season prediction record: 54-15