Lest anyone forget that public schools can play hockey, too, heated eastern Massachusetts rivals Hingham and Weymouth (South Weymouth) put on a show for the ages on Saturday afternoon in MIAA Super 8 Bracket 1 play.
Trailing 3-2 after two periods - and not looking good in the process - Weymouth got goals from Riley Flanagan with 5:21 to play in regulation and from Trevor King with less than three minutes left to edge defending state champ Hingham, 4-3, at Merrimack College's Lawler Arena.
After struggling in the second period and being bailed out several times by goalie Brian Brady
, Weymouth (18-3-2) rallied behind the play of the Flanagan-King-Tyler Piacentini
line to score the all-important opening-game win.
Unlike most state tournaments, the Super Eight selections in Massachusetts hockey compete in Olympic-style round-robin group play before the top two teams in each bracket advance to the semifinal knockout round.
Teams have been taking their best shots - and then some - at Hingham all season. The fact that this one involved a neighborhood rival from their area south of Boston made it all the more compelling.
"This game wasn't pretty; it was about doing all the little things,'' Weymouth coach Matt Cataldo told the Boston Globe. "(Hingham) didn't want (a loss) to their rivals to hang on their heads for the rest of time.
"The way we fought back says a lot about these kids and this team," Cataldo added. "We played a good chunk of this game back on our heels, but once the players see that they can take advantage of a team, they play well."
Hingham (13-6-4) and Weymouth split their two regular-season games.
"We got contributions from all four lines," said Hingham coach Tony Messina, "and some great shifts from the third and fourth lines. Derek McInnis
played pretty good, made some great saves. That's what we look at. We all know what it's like to lose the first game in the Super Eight. It puts you right behind the eight-ball."
In another Super Eight thriller, St. John's Prep (Danvers)
narrowly avoided a major upset as it scored a 4-3 overtime win against Woburn Memorial
in Bracket 2 play. The top-seeded team in the Super 8, Malden Catholic
, edged No. 8 Central Catholic (Lawrence)
, 4-3.MAJOR QUIRKS, UPSETS IN BASKETBALL
It's been that kind of season. Too many quality teams, too few places for teams to advance in the boys basketball tournament:
* Cambridge (Weston)
, 19-1 and seeded No. 1 in the MIAA Division 1 North sectional, lost at home in the first round to No. 15 Lawrence
, 82-78. Jaylen Alicea
had a triple-double for Lawrence, registering 35 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds (plus five steals).
"I didn't go into the game doubting we could win,'' Lawrence coach Paul Neal told the Boston Globe. "It was all about how we could play on this day.''
* Boston College High
, which lost to Catholic Memorial twice during the season - the last time by 74-47 - downed CM by 56-53 in the quarterfinals of the Division 1 South tournament. Senior guard Bryan Hurley
had 17 points, five assists and five rebounds for 13th seeded BC High.
"I just told our guys that we're a good team when we play our game," said coach Bill Loughnane told the Boston Herald. "We did a terrific job of finding their shooters."
* While Central Catholic (Lawrence)
(21-2) and Charlestown
(20-3) are arguably two of the top five teams in the state, one of them - Charlestown - isn't even going to the Division 1 North Section semifinals. That's because the two played each other in the sectional quarterfinals, and Central Catholic came away with 79-71 win on the road.
Freshman reserve Tyler Nelson
hit three straight 3-pointers in the third quarter to help lift Central Catholic, the defending MIAA Division 1 champs, while Jimmy Zenevitch
scored 19 points.
"We knew it was going to be a challenge coming in here — one to eight, (Charlestown) has the best team in the state," Central Catholic coach Rick Nault said. "Our kids just battled hard. I can't say enough of how proud I am of them."
Where's round-robin group play when you need it?WEST SPRINGFIELD ENDS EAST LONGMEADOW RUN
The top-seeded West Springfield
girls basketball team brought East Longmeadow's two-year hold on the Western Mass. Division 1 title to an end with a 72-63 win Friday night in the sectional quarterfinals.
Though East Longmeadow (11-10) was the No. 8 seed this season, the game was tied at 58 with five minutes to play in regulation before West Springfield (19-2) clamped down defensively and slowly pulled away.
"We knew East Longmeadow was a very good team; the earlier two games we played were just like this one," West Springfield coach Paul Taylor told MassLive.com
. "They are a great team, they were two-time defending champions for a reason."
West Springfield junior point guard Dana Theobald
, who averages 24 points per game and leads the MassLive region, led all scorers with 27 points. She was 8-for-8 from the foul line over the final 75 seconds, in essence salting away the win and securing a trip to the Sectional Final Four this week at American International College.
"We want the ball in (Theobald's) hands; Dana always comes through for us," said teammate Emily Taylor
(15 points, 10 rebounds).Arielle Ward
scored 19 points for East Longmeadow. Morgan Belanger
(15 points) and Kylie White
(12) excelled for East Longmeadow.
West Springfield will face No. 4 Longmeadow
(14-7) in the Western Mass. Division 1 semis on Wednesday, following the game between a pair of 19-2 teams, No. 2 Holyoke
and No. 3 Amherst-Pelham Regional
Jim Stout is the CBS MaxPreps Media Manager for the Eastern U.S. He may be reached at 845-367-2864 or at email@example.com.