All photos courtesy of Paul Gilbrook. Click on one of the photos to activate the gallery.
March 9, 2018
After getting a top four seed in the tourney the Rockland High School girls looked forward to the home games they had earned in the first two rounds of the Division 3 South MIAA tournament.
They took advantage of their home court advantage in round one against a deceptively good Sandwich squad on Feb. 28.
Sandwich, the Atlantic Coast League’s second place team, put up a fight before bowing to Rockland 51-47. Rockland’s win was aided by some big time rebounding. The girls got a total of 39 rebounds: 25 on the offensive side. Without those rebounds, the game would certainly have gone the other way as the Lady Dogs’ outside shooters had trouble connecting.
Caroline Elie saved the day on the offensive end with 22 points including the game winner with 9 seconds left to make it 49-47. Danielle O’Brien’s two free throws iced the game with 3 seconds on the clock giving the girls the win with a final score of 51-47.
The girls now looked forward to using the momentum from this win against Fontbonne, the number 6 seed in the quarterfinals scheduled for Friday, March 2.
However, this game was postponed three times because of the Northeaster that kept most of Rockland without power from Friday until Monday. Finally on Monday night, March 5, the game was on.
For one half it was a game. The Lady Dogs came out like gangbusters and took an early lead. But Fontbonne fought back as Rockland went cold and the Ducks took a 23-22 lead into the locker room at half-time.
Rockland’s offensive woes continued throughout the second half and this time their rebounding, especially on the offensive glass was non-existent. In all, the Lady Dogs could only muster three offensive rebounds in the entire game, including none in the second half. To gain perspective, it did not help that all-star senior Erika Ochenduszko was feeling the effects of a stomach virus. With her out of the game for a time, it made it easier for Fontbonne to cover Rockland’s other offensive threats and the Ducks’ tenacious defense was up to the task. Danielle O’Brien (17) and Caroline Elie (13) worked hard as always to gain some momentum, but it was an uphill battle. The final score was 59-37.
It was a tough way to end a great season for the Lady Dogs who this year got a three-peat South Shore League title. The seniors should certainly be proud of this accomplishment, one that no other SSL team or senior player can claim! In four years as varsity players, seniors Natalie Draicchio, Danielle O’Brien and Erika Ochenduszko had 71 wins and 18 losses!! Senior Sydney McKenna also contributed to this year’s 18-4 record, another outstanding accomplishment, particularly since that record came against some very good D2 schools like Hanover, Scituate, Hingham and Duxbury.
Once the sting wears off of another tournament loss to a Catholic school (which some say should not be in Division 3 due to their ability to draw players from a larger talent pool), the Rockland players should look back at the positives of a season that had its ups and downs, but in which the team ultimately reached its goals.
Bright spots in both games were the fans. The Lady Dogs want to thank them, along with parents, coaches and administration for all their support this year.