Fenwick girls hoop one step closer to state tourney berth after defeating St. Mary’s

LYNN – With only a small amount of games remaining on the regular-season schedule, both St. Mary’s and visiting Bishop Fenwick wanted to take advantage of one of their final chances at a win that would bring them one step closer to the state tournament.The Spartans kept the contest close, much closer than their 21-point defeat in the teams’ last meeting, but the Crusaders never trailed and were ultimately victorious, 56-47.”This was a great effort,” said Fenwick coach Tim Harrington. “St. Mary’s has been playing much better as of late. We were certainly concerned about this game coming in.”The Crusaders (8-8) have four games left and need two more wins to qualify for the tournament, but will face stiff competition from the likes of Cardinal Spellman and Masconomet.”We’re basically playing like we’re in the state tourney already, so we have to take care of the games we know we can win,” Harrington said. “Not to take anything away from St. Mary’s, they’re a good team, but we have some real tough games ahead of us.”After a 12-4 Fenwick run to begin the first quarter, the Spartans compiled a run of their own and pulled within a basket at 12-10 on an Amy Bozarjian (11 points) three.In the second quarter, led by the play of Bridget Dullea (nine of her 11 points came in the first half), the Crusaders built their lead to seven before another late-quarter St. Mary’s run tightened the score, this time at 28-24 at the half.”We’ve gotten a lot better as a basketball team,” said Spartan coach Jeff Newhall. “Our second time through this league, our games have been much closer and more competitive.”St. Mary’s (7-11) got within two early in the third quarter but was never able to take control of the game for a long stretch and Fenwick held on for the win.”Every once in awhile we needed a big stop and we didn’t get it,” Newhall said. “In the last five minutes, we were worn down and tired.”The game remained close throughout the entire contest due to the strong play of Spartan freshmen forwards Cassi Amenta and Tori Faieta. Amenta was the game’s high scorer in the first half with 10 points and Faieta accomplished the same feat with 10 points in the second half. Both players benefited from the Crusader defense being forced to pay close attention to the other.”Ideally, our plan is to get it inside to Faieta. I truly believe she’s one of the best post players on the North Shore,” Newhall said. “Inside, they overplayed Faieta and Amenta benefited. In the second half, because of the way Amenta played early, Faieta had more opportunities, and when she’s one-on-one, we want her to take the shot.”Faieta finished with a team-high 12 points to go along with eight rebounds and three blocks. Amenta ended with 10, and although she did not register a point in the second half, she made her presence felt on the glass where she grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds (five offensive).For Fenwick, Dullea and sophomore Bria Tiro finished as their team’s high scorers with 11 apiece. Lara Bruni also had a big game for the visitors with six points, five rebounds, three blocks and three steals.”Laura did a great job down low. She doesn’t score a lot of points, but she does the stuff we need to get done,” Harrington said. “She has the intangibles.”St. Mary’s must win its final four games in order to qualify for the state tournament.

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