Lee Wildcats Will Play for State Title
WORCESTER, Mass. — Stephanie Young scored 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the Lee girls' basketball team to a 69-37 win over Main South (University Park) of Worcester in the Division 3 state semifinals at the DCU Center on Monday afternoon.
Eileen Dooley scored 24 points and passed out four assists for the Wildcats, who moves on to Saturday morning's state championship game against Archbishop Williams, a 52-38 winner over Pentucket on Monday evening.
Lee (19-5) will be gunning for the school's eighth state title and its second in three years. It also will be playing its last game under head coach Gary Wellington.
"It's a great group of kids to have, and I'm honored to be the one to coach them," said Wellington, who has six seniors, including Young and Dooley, on this year's team.
Lee took control of the game with a 27-7 first quarter in which the Cougars turned the ball over six straight possessions at one point.
Main South ended up with 18 first-half turnovers and a 40-16 deficit heading to the locker room. It was 67-31 midway through the fourth quarter before both teams emptied their benches.
Young said after the game that the team felt like the pressure was off after last Saturday, when it won the Western Massachusetts title and erased the memories of last year's disappointment in the sectional semifinals.
"We peaked at the right time this year," she said. "We're so relaxed now. This is just for fun."
Monday was not much fun for Main South (23-2), which got 20 points from senior Sam O'Gara and 13 from classmate Aretha Sullivan but could not get within double digits after Young scored in transition with about two minutes left in the first quarter to make it 18-7.
Even the Wildcats were surprised by how effective their defensive pressure was in the first half.
"Our game is always pressure, pressure," Dooley said. "But, yeah, I was actually surprised that we could cause as many turnovers as we did and get as many fast breaks as we did. That really helped us a lot, and that's what really generated our offense."
Young said that Lee's early domination was a credit to the team's desire coming out of the locker room."
"I'm not going to say that it was as good as it gets," she said. "It can always get better. There's always room for improvement.
"But we definitely came out really hard and really wanted it. ... Hitting our shots, making lay-ups, doing the little things right. It really pays off in the end."
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