Spartans sink Cavaliers
Friday, January 18, 2013
HOLLIS – Bob Murphy repeated the message over and over to his Hollis Brookline High School girls basketball team.
Watch out for Milford’s No. 10. Get a hand in No. 10’s face when she shoots. The Cavaliers didn’t and Dina Pitsas shot the Spartans right by them.
Pitsas hit three 3-pointers in the final 62 seconds of the game to help Milford come back Friday night and beat HB 39-37. The final 3, with about 15 seconds to play, came from at least five feet behind the arc and gave the Spartans their only lead of the game.
“I told (Pitsas) at halftime, a lot of the girls weren’t having shots fall,” Milford coach Steve Signor said. “You’ve got to take it on your back and take a lot of shots, and she said ‘really?’ I said I don’t mind if you take 50 shots this half. Maybe it wasn’t 50, but they were key and some were pretty deep, too. She was feeling it.”
The Milford senior finished with a game-high 27 points, including five 3s, as the Spartans (5-2 in Division II) by as many 11 in the first half, and eight with 4:26 left to play.
But the Cavs (6-2) scored just one point down the stretch and turned the ball over 10 times in the second half, including on their final possession of the game, after Pitsas had given the Spartans the lead.
“I thought we were in good shape to run time off the clock and get us to the foul line,” Murphy said. “But when you come down and turn it over quickly, you give the other team an opportunity.
“(Pitsas) made some huge shots. Bottom line, we know she’s capable of doing that. We called timeouts to say its No. 10 we’ve got to stop. You’ve got to get a hand in her face when she’s shooting and we didn’t do that.”
Ellie Flaum led HB with 16 points, 12 of which came in the first half when the Cavs got out to leads of 7-0 and 10-2 early.
Milford didn’t score its first basket until 4:10 was left in the first quarter, and the Spartans didn’t reach double digits until the 5-minute mark of the second.
HB led 22-11 with 1:52 left in the half, but two free throws and a 3 by Pitsas made it a six-point game. Kellie Messer’s layup in the final seconds gave the Cavs a 24-16 lead at halftime.
Pitsas opened the second half with two more free throws and another 3 to make it a five-point game, as HB struggled early in the third quarter after Milford switched to a zone defense.
But the Cavs were still in control of the game, leading 30-23 going into the fourth.
Baskets by Erin Ackerly and Katherine Kroeger gave HB a 36-28 lead that seemed like it would be enough, but Milford went on an 11-1 run to end the game. Pitsas scored all 11 points over that span.
The teams will meet again in the final week of the regular season, this time at Milford on Feb. 19.
“Hopefully they’ll know No. 10 by then,” Murphy said. “All my scouting reports were based around her. You let her come back at the end like that ... she took over the game. The kid knows how to put the ball in the basket.”