BMR teams clinch playoff berths

BMR teams clinch playoff berths

Blackstone-Millville’s Ashlyn Novio, right, battles Nipmuc’s Taylor Johnson for a rebound during the first quarter of last week’s Dual Valley Conference game at the Chargers’ gym. The Chargers lost that game and another DVC contest to Hopedale last Friday night, but they came back on Monday to post a 66-37 victory over David Prouty that earned them a spot in the upcoming Division III playoffs. (Breeze photo by Kayla Panu)
Basketball teams defeat David Prouty with ease; girls shake off two close losses with victory

BLACKSTONE – It’s been a long time since Blackstone-Millville Regional’s boys’ and girls’ basketball teams both qualified for the playoffs in the same season, but on Monday night, both punched their tickets to the postseason by blasting David Prouty, with the boys cruising to a 61-35 win on the road and the girls rolling to a 66-37 victory on their home court.

Last year, the BMR girls made the playoffs for the first time in seven years with a .500 record, and this season, they won seven of their first nine games and appeared to be well on their way to the postseason.

But the Chargers then lost four of their next five games, with the last two Dual Valley Conference defeats – a 53-50 loss to Nipmuc on Wednesday, Jan. 31, and 48-47 defeat at Hopedale last Friday night – going down to the wire.

In their loss to Nipmuc, the Chargers got off to a slow start and were down their top two scorers, but they still came close to overtaking Nipmuc.

The Chargers had taken the first game against the Warriors on Jan. 12 at Nipmuc by a 62-46 score, as Taylor McNamara and Aidan Ryan were healthy and teamed up to score 42 points, but in last week’s rematch, both girls were sidelined with injuries.

“Missing our two top players made it tough,” head coach Chris McNamara said after the loss to Nipmuc. “But the girls worked their butts off and played hard. Playing with six girls can be tough, but they can run and they’re in good shape.”

The Chargers don’t have captains, but they are led by their three seniors, Taylor McNamara, Ryan, and Eva Cann, who was the only senior in the starting lineup in last week’s game against Nipmuc and led the Chargers with 16 points. Both McNamara and Cann have been with the program since the 6th grade, while Ryan transferred when she was a 9th-grader.

“They’ve been here awhile and they know what we expect,” the head coach added. “And we have some good girls coming up. Our little point guard Toni (Spellman) is a junior. She’ll be a good leader next year. And Emily Bullen is also a junior. We have a nice little junior class – I just wish it was bigger.”

Nipmuc held a 42-33 advantage going into the final quarter, but the Chargers started to make their way back into the game. Steals from Maranda Cournoyer and Cann helped start a run that helped BMR cut its deficit to 47-46. But despite having their chances, the Chargers couldn’t tie the score or take the lead.

“Hopefully, we can see how we can advance in the playoffs,” said the head coach. “We played hard, and that’s what we need to do going forward.”

In the loss to Hopedale, BMR trailed for most of the night. Taylor McNamara returned to the Chargers’ lineup and scored 14 points, with her final two coming on free throws with less than 20 seconds to play. That helped BMR cut its deficit to 48-47, but time ran out on the Chargers’ comeback.

However, there was no drama in BMR’s victory over David Prouty, as the Chargers surged to a 49-18 lead at halftime and received 24 points from Taylor McNamara and 17 from Cann.

As for the boys’ team, the Chargers picked up their third win in four games with their rout of David Prouty. Mike Marchand and Kyle Lubinsky each scored 10 points, Derek Valentine added nine, and Mike DiCecco had eight to key a balance attack.

The Chargers, who are 10-5 and heading to the postseason for the first time in five seasons, had posted back-to-back victories last week on the road, defeating Millbury, 51-31, and Nipmuc, 63-49. Lubinsky had 24 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Chargers past Nipmuc.

Both teams were back in action on Wednesday night playing DVC rival Douglas. On Friday, the girls’ team will visit Worcester North in a 5:30 p.m. game, while the boys’ team will host Advanced Math and Science at 6:30 p.m.