The Bishop Brady girls’ basketball team is at its best when the Green Giants stay true to themselves.
From the opening tip, the Giants played with energy, enthusiasm and hardly showed any signs of playoff jitters as Sam Will scored 27 points and No. 8 Bishop Brady topped the No. 9 Bow Falcons, 58-41, in the first round of the Division II tournament Tuesday night in Concord.
The Giants (13-6) advanced to Friday’s quarterfinal, where they will face top-ranked and undefeated Portsmouth (18-0).
Bow’s season ends with an 11-8 mark.
“The playoffs are really exciting for us,” Brady head coach Annie Alosa said. “We have a lot of girls who haven’t been here before.”
The Giants have battled their share of injuries and illness in recent weeks, but their usual lineup – a mixture of senior leadership and young talent – took the floor at fullstrength. The tournament atmosphere didn’t faze freshmen Ami Rivera (nine points) and Halle Laramie (seven points), who both hit some key shots early and the Giants played great team defense led by senior Lauren Roy to propel Brady to an 18-7 first-quarter lead.
“They (freshmen) answered the call. The girls were really energetic,” Alosa said. “Everyone is back in full swing and healthy. They were getting themselves excited and communicated well on the floor. We played our style. We ran the ball really well and pushed the pace. Defensively, as a team we came out ready to play.”
The Giants extended its lead in the second quarter and ended the first half with a 33-19 lead, thanks to offensive production from seniors Will and Sarah Doherty (seven points).
“(Brady) shot the ball very, very well,” Bow head coach Bill Vermette said. “Sam Will was a little too much for us tonight. Sarah Doherty is a tough player. Between those two, they’re tough, we knew it was not a good matchup for us. They’ve got potential to do some damage against Portsmouth. It should be an interesting game.”
Bow was able to close the gap a little bit in the third quarter with the efforts of seniors Patti Nordin (11 points), Lea Crompton (8 points) and Erin Boldwin (seven points, seven rebounds), but the Giants still held a 44-32 lead heading into the final frame.
Brady picked things back up in the fourth quarter, scoring 14 points and holding the Falcons to nine, to complete the 17-point victory.
“It’s just a matter of continuing to shoot with confidence,” Alosa said. “Part of our offense is the idea that everyone can shoot.”
Alosa praised the balance between her senior leaders and her younger players, especially the freshman.
“They just needed to get their feet wet and I thought they did a really great job just competing from start to finish,” Alosa said.
Although Brady will travel to play the No. 1 Clippers on Friday, the Giants did not get a chance to put a blemish on Portsmouth’s perfect record in the regular season.
Coach Alosa’s game plan is simple.
“Stay true to who we are on offense and defense,” said Alosa, adding that, “they shine in great moments and I hope they continue to do that. We also may have some tricks up our sleeve.”