Worth the wait: Warriors make it back to North Finals

Mar 9, 2018 by

Girls’ hoop shuts down Wilmington in D2N Semi’s, 54-35

LOWELL IS THAT WAY – The Red Sea, sporting a “black-out” during the girls’ basketball D2 North semifinal against Wilmington last night, agrees with Wakefield’s Olivia Dziadyk (23) about an out-of-bounds call. The Red Sea will get ready to travel to the Tsongas Center tomorrow at 2 p.m. for the D2N final against Pentucket. (Dan Pawlowski Photo)

Published in the March 9, 2018 edition.

By DAN PAWLOWSKI

WOBURN — Wakefield’s basketball diehards had all of about five hours to clear their schedules for 5:30 and reroute the maps to Woburn Memorial High School to see their girls’ basketball team take on Wilmington in the Div. 2 North semifinals.

It was a worthwhile whirlwind.

Behind a stifling defense and 22 points from Hannah Dziadyk, the Warriors cruised to a 54-35 win and earned a trip to the Tsongas Center in Lowell for the Div. 2 North Finals where they will meet Pentucket at 2 p.m. tomorrow.

HANNAH DZIADYK tees up a three during the first half of Wakefield’s win over Wilmington last night. Dziadyk scored 11 of her team-high 22 in the second quarter. (Dan Pawlowski Photo)

After the recent snowstorm pushed the game to Thursday at 7 p.m. instead of Wednesday, the two schools determined that Tewksbury High wouldn’t be ready last night, so at about 11:30 a.m. it was announced that the game will be pushed up to 5:30 p.m. and moved to Woburn.

For Wakefield fans, it was a challenge accepted rather than a wrench in the plans, as they dominated the Woburn High gym and pushed the Warriors on.

“I didn’t know when the game was going to be or where it was going to be but I knew one thing: those guys were going to show up,” said Wakefield head coach Jason Pavey. “I can’t say enough, it felt like a home game today. That was awesome to see, I appreciate it and I know the kids love it.”

The Warriors made sure to put on a show.

Wakefield and Wilmington had a combined seven points separating their first two games this season. Wakefield won the first game by four and Wilmington got the second game by three.

The first quarter made it feel like these two were determined for a similar outcome.

Both offenses seemed to work through some semifinal nerves as the Warriors took a 7-6 lead into the second. Olivia Dziadyk scored all six of Wakefield’s points on two three-pointers.

Everything changed in the second quarter; except Wakefield’s defense, which was daunting and vehement from the start.

After a Hailey Lovell layup got the scoring started in the second, Hannah Dziadyk sent the Red Sea (or Blackwater Bay as the students showed up with a huge following dressed in all black) into high tide. Dziadyk scored 11 points in the quarter behind three triples.

Not enough can be said about the defensive effort from Lovell, the Dziadyks and Ally Coggswell on the perimeter to Allee Purcell and Hannah Butler on defense; but it was teamwork that got Wakefield open shots. After Hannah Dziadyk’s third three-pointer came from the corner after a nice kick-out, Wakefield took a 20-7 lead and forced a Wilmington timeout.

“Ball movement,” said Pavey when asked what got the offensive production going. “We went back and looked at the film from the last couple of games and saw the ball was kind of sticking. It was one pass and a shot. Our offense is based on ball movement and people cutting really hard and that takes hard work. I think we just got back to the basics of what we try to do.”

Wilmington fought back to make it 22-14 heading into the break, but whether it was the defensive intensity or the noise from those clad in black and red, the lead felt much bigger for Wakefield.

The Warriors more or less made it official in the third, as they outscored Wilmington 16-11 to take a commanding 38-25 lead into the 4th.

Coggswell was phenomenal in the second half as she scored all 10 of her points in the final two quarters.

Wakefield had balanced scoring in the third as Coggswell and Hannah Dziadyk each had four, Purcell and Lovell each had three, and Butler had two free throws.

One of Wakefield’s main priorities was to stop Wilmington’s talented senior center, Caroline Andersen who was coming off a 21-point performance in the Wildcats’ quarterfinal victory over No. 1 Lynn Classical. The team defense was excellent, but forwards Allee Purcell and Hannah Butler deserve credit for battling all night on the block and holding Andersen to just 6 points.

Purcell was the x-factor, as she did everything from diving on the floor for loose balls, to taking charges, to battling on the offensive glass and drawing fouls on Andersen who fouled out in the 4th and got a nice round of applause from even Wakefield’s fans who recognized a deserving senior.

In the end, the team defense was still the star of the show.

“We practice it so much and when we scrimmage (the reserves) in practice they work us so hard that it makes our defense that much better so as a whole team it helps so much,” said Purcell.

“I thought the kids really couldn’t play any harder on defense,” added Pavey. “Once we knew we got Wilmington the message was there was going to be a lot of energy and we needed to focus that on the defensive end. Going into the tournament our defensive effort was inconsistent but we have these glimpses where when we really dial up the intensity it can be suffocating.”

That dominant defense was anything but a passing look last night. It was evident from the start, that Wakefield quite simply wanted it more.

“We’re just so excited,” said Lovell. “Everyone on the team wanted this so bad.”

“We’re not done yet,” said Pavey. “We’re not satisfied. We’re proud of our accomplishments but this is a special group. They’re not ready to go home.”

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