Scituate girls fall in Elite Eight

Scituate girls fall in Elite Eight

Scituate’s Taylor Parker, center, makes her way to the basket as Barrington’s Alexandra Marinelli, left, and Cary Heterick close in on her at the end of the first half of last Saturday’s Elite Eight game at Rhode Island College. Marinelli scored a game-high 21 points to lead Barrington to a 54-45 victory. (Breeze photo by Kayla Panu)
Basketball team ends 21-4 season with 54-45 defeat to D-I Eagles

PROVIDENCE – After losing in the previous week’s Division II championship game, the Scituate High girls’ basketball team wanted to make some noise in the open state tournament, and the Spartans were able to make it to the Elite Eight before coming up short against Barrington, 54-45, last Saturday at Rhode Island College.

The last time the Spartans played at RIC’s Murray Center, they ran out of gas and suffered a 39-34 loss to the two-time champion Panthers. After posting a 41-39 victory over one of the Division II-North rivals, 12th-seeded East Providence, in their state tourney opener on Feb. 28 at Johnston High, the 5th-seeded Spartans ran into a more experienced team in 4th-seeded Barrington, which won the Division I-Central title.

But with only three seniors on their roster, two of them starting, and sophomores and freshmen rounding out the lineup, the Spartans were able to go far, and they actually held a 29-23 lead over the Eagles in the second half.

(Barrington) was more of a seasoned team,” Scituate head coach Rick Cabral said. “We had that lead in the second half, but sometimes it comes down to experience. (Barrington) has been there before. They are well-coached and they have a great program; there’s nothing to take away from them.”

Four of the Spartans’ starters had double-digit point totals, as sophomore Madison Medbury led the way with 12. The other three, freshman Rachel Oster, sophomore Leah Bessette, and senior Jane Owens had 10 points apiece.

It was an up-and-down, low-scoring first half, as Barrington held the biggest lead, 18-12, but Scituate scored the final six points to tie the contest at halftime. But the Spartans came out strong in the second half, and after Barrington scored the first bucket, Rachel Oster sunk a basket and Medbury hit a three-pointer to give Scituate a 23-20 lead.

The Spartans expanded their lead to 29-23, but the Eagles were always right there, and they used their defense to get on a roll with their offense, frustrating Scituate on both ends of the court. Alex Marinelli was a thorn in Scituate’s side, as she scored 15 points in the second half alone and ended up with a game-high 21.

Olivia Middleton, who added 16 points for the Eagles, then hit the game’s biggest shot, a three-pointer that gave Barrington a 33-31 lead that eventually grew larger.

Despite being young, the Spartans, who ended the season with an overall record of 21-4, made some noise in the playoffs and were able to gain some experience for future seasons.

“I think it is going to help tremendously,” Cabral said about getting to the Elite Eight with a young team. “We’re losing three seniors, three great kids, but I think we have a great returning squad (coming back) next year and some good-looking incoming 8th-graders that are going to be freshmen, so I think we should be very competitive again. The program is heading in the right direction.

“I’m extremely proud of the entire team,” Cabral added. “We accomplished a great deal. All I wanted out of them today was to give everything they had and give (Barrington) a fight and they did exactly that. They just came up a little bit short.”