By Jean DePlacido
---- — The St. Adelaide Cadet girls, a team made up entirely of eighth graders, won the state tournament and will play in the Regionals on April 6-7 at Roxbury Latin School in West Roxbury. The team from West Peabody beat St. John’s of Swampscott, 45-30 to win the state title.
Two years ago as Bantams St. Adelaide’s won the states and went on to capture the New England Regionals with this same core group, taking on the best teams from the other New England states.
“Each year the New England regional tournament is hosted by a different state,” said head coach Joy Wallace, who is assisted by Bill Gulla. “We are looking forward to representing the Boston Archdiocese in our home state. “These girls are so unselfish; that’s why we are so successful. They are all true competitors, and are most concerned with the final score than with individual statistics.”
As has been the case all season, unbeaten St. Adelaide’s (17-0) came up with a total team effort in the state finals against 14-3 St. John’s of Swampscott at Cathedral High in Boston. The two teams met earlier in the season with St. A’s winning, 41-28.
“We have battled that team for three years, and knew St. John’s was a strong, well coached team, and they like to shoot from outside,” said Wallace. “We knew it would be a challenge, and we had to play tight defense. We could not let them get those long shots off.
St. John’s, which is coached by Joe Caponigro, kept the game close with strong play from Hannah Leahy (8 points), Elizabeth Weisse and Gabbry LaRiviere (6 apiece), and Jaymie Caponigro (3), but after a 12-3 run before halftime St. Adelaide’s led, 27-12.
The Peabody team’s outstanding defensive pressure and quickness forced St. John’s to move to an inside game. Melissa Gray led the winners with 21 points, including a pair of 3-pointers and was a perfect 5-5 at the line to spark her team. Kelly Crotty had a season high five rebounds and six points while Temi Falayi chipped in with five points and 10 rebounds.
Samantha Gulla used her speed to her advantage with three steals, and was also 4-6 at the line. Katie Wallace (3 points) and Marisa Tisi (4 points) were key players defensively, double teaming to shut down the strong Swampscott offense. Alyssa Alperen had a strong all around game with eight rebounds, three assists, and two points. Point guard Lauren Wolff, guard Carla Patania, and forwards Gianna Capo and Alia Campagnone also contributed to the win.
St. Adelaide’s will open against St. Francis of Vermont at 8:30 a.m. on April 6. The winner advances to the semi-final round at 2:45 p.m. that same day with the championship game on Sunday at 1 p.m.