By Gianna Addario
---- — HAMILTON — Heading into last night’s Patton Tournament championship game, Bishop Fenwick head coach Adam DeBaggis had a pretty good idea that it was going to be a physical, defensive battle against host Hamilton-Wenham, having scouted them the night before.
Both teams went quarter-for-quarter until the Crusaders pulled away down the stretch, topping the Generals 43-37 to capture the first ever Patton Tournament title.
“Hamilton-Wenham (15-5) is probably the hardest working team we’ve seen,” said DeBaggis. “All we talked about before the game and at halftime was staying calm and being available for each other when the trap comes.
“In a game like this, it usually comes down free throws or what fouls the refs are calling. All you can do is be strong, because both of us are very aggressive.”
After senior point guard Gianna Pizzano left the game with an injury in the fourth, Fenwick (12-8) rallied around its senior captain down the stretch and outscored the Generals, 9-3 in the final two minutes.
Sophomore guard Sydney Brennan made a free throw, and on the next Crusader possession captain Kate Lipka hit a contested three-pointer to put her team up 38-35. Hamilton-Wenham point guard Suz Rose made two foul shots to cut it back to one, but Fenwick freshman Mikayla Porcaro stood tall under pressure and hit both of her free throws, as well.
Colleen Corcoran iced the win for her team on a three-point play and earned tournament MVP honors for her 13 point, 10 rebound and three steal performance last night.
“Mikayla was huge, making both free throws as a freshman,” noted DeBaggis. “Colleen is just a person for us that makes things happen. Plus with Gianna going out, as our point guard and floor leader, a lot of girls like Sydney and Lexie Rose stepped up in that tight situation.”
While the Crusaders established a six-point lead in the first quarter, Hamilton-Wenham held them to just four points in the second quarter and finished out the half ahead, 16-15.
Molly Eagar was stellar of the bench for the Generals, scoring eight points and showed tremendous poise as a sophomore in the intense atmosphere.
Including Eagar, Hamilton-Wenham had just four players factor into the scoring. Rose (seven assists, four steals) finished with 11, while fellow senior captain Sam Charette (13 rebounds) scored a team-high 15 points and Haley Willis added three.
“That was a very physical, tournament-style game,” said H-W head coach Jon DeMarco. “I’m very happy with that from a preparation standpoint. I’m disappointed we lost and thought we could’ve done some things at the end to put ourselves in a better position to win.
“We have to play a little smarter. I think our emotions got the best of us in certain situations and if we played a little smarter defensively, we would’ve had a better chance at the end. Hopefully we can learn from that and it’s only going to prepare us for the tournament, though.”
Rose and Charette were named to the all-tournament team, along with Fenwick’s Lipka (six rebounds, nine points) and Pizzano (six rebounds, eight points).
Both teams saw some of their younger players step up and big situations. Porcarco finished the night with six rebounds and four points, including those two clutch free throws late in the game. Hamilton-Wenham’s Kelly Walsh, grabbed eight rebounds and played key minutes after the Generals got into foul trouble.