The Abigail Adams Basketball Classic began Tuesday night and while both Quincy high schools take part in the event for the third straight year, it was Weymouth and Braintree who put on a show and came away with wins in their opening games.
“They’ll be tough,” Braintree coach Kristen McDonnell said of Weymouth, who the Wamps will play against in the championship game tonight. “They’re very scrappy. They’ll battle for the whole time. We play them three times [this year] and every time it gets harder and harder.”
In the second game of the doubleheader, Braintree defeated Quincy, 46-31, in a game that saw the Wamps never relinquish the lead after being down 3-2 less than a minute into the game.
“We just put in a new defense,” McDonnell said. “It puts pressure up front and takes advantage of our athleticism and height. It’s good to see that the kids adjusted very quickly.”
Senior guard Paige Marshall led the Wamps in scoring with 15, while freshman forward Molly Reagan had 14.
The Wamps are now undefeated after their first three games, and though it’s only been about a month since practice started, it’s clear to anyone who’s seen them play that they’ve been improving a great deal.
Though they have just two seniors on the roster, the Braintee’s roster is full of athleticism. The Wamps took advantage of this last night by applying full court pressure for much of the evening. Their quick feet enable them to stay in front of their opponents, while their quick hands allow them to frequently deflect the ball without committing unnecessary fouls. So far they’ve gotten by a lot on this athleticism, but McDonnell says they’re working on the basketball skill element everyday in practice.
“Our defense determines the character of our team,” the third-year coach said. “Right now we’re trying to go back and just be more technical. That’ll take a little time. There’s definitely some growing pains, but I think we’ll be okay.”
One of the toughest things McDonnell has been forced to do is figure out her rotations. The Wamps are fortunate to have an entire roster of players who are capable of contributing, but the question remains as to how to best create and use different lineups. She’s not worried about that, though.
Offensively, the Wamps are looking pretty good right now. While their shooting percentage wasn’t that great last night, McDonnell chucks it up to one of those things that happens sometimes. They play a quick style of offense, and they’re getting good looks at the hoop. They’re also making good, hard cuts and doing an excellent job of passing. Their guard play orchestrates their attack, but it may wind up being their inside players who ultimately make the difference. That’s too early to tell, but the offensive rebounding has been outstanding so far this season.
In the opening game last night, Weymouth took on North Quincy and both teams started off slowly, with the Wildcats taking a 21-19 lead into the locker room at halftime.
But the Wildcats came alive in the third quarter, took a large lead and would never let up, winning, 57-47. Senior forward Samantha Daukas led the way for the Wildcats with 15, while fellow captains Shannon Conneely and Devan Ratta had 10 and 9 points, respectively.
“Our energy picked up in the second half,” Weymouth coach Christy Hay said. “We look to our three captains for leadership.”
Weymouth and Braintree will tip off at 7 p.m. tonight following the third-place game between Quincy and North Quincy.
Like Braintree, the Wildcats rely a lot on their speed and quickness; however, Weymouth doesn’t have the size that the Wamps have. The game could very well be a track meet, unless McDonnell chooses to change things up to take advantage of her team’s height. Either way, both coaches expect it to be a good match-up.
“We always play up to Braintree,” Hay said.