Lee, Young Make Run at State Title

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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WORCESTER -- Lee senior Stephanie Young is one of the top scorers in the history of Berkshire County high school girls' basketball, so it comes as no surprise when she puts up numbers like she did in Monday's state semifinal.

What might come as a suprise is how she does it.

The 5-foot, 11-inch star scored 30 points and dished out four assists to help the Wildcats advance to Saturday morning's state championship game.

And to get there, she not only towered over the competition, she ran past it.

In one three-minute stretch on Monday against Main South, Young scored two baskets and dished out two assists in transition.

Throughout the game, Young showed once again that she is both a dominant presence in the post and a threat to create offense in the running game.

It is not the kind of ability you expect to see in a player her size, but it is exactly the kind of talent Lee fans have come to expect.

"Steph's really multi-dimensional," Lee guard Eileen Dooley said. "She has good ball skills, great post skills, a great all-around game.

"It really helps because when other teams see a big girl up top bringing up the ball, they're like, 'Oh, I'm not going to guard her.' And she'll just shoot it."

She also showed that part of her game on Monday night, knocking down three 3-pointers. In the Wildcats' Western Massachusetts Division 3 championship game win a week ago, one of Young's triples was the biggest shot of the game.

On Monday night, Young agreed that opponents are sometimes surprised when they see her in action.

"I don't really think of myself as a forward or a center, really," Young said. "I think of myself as a big guard, kind of.

"I enjoy shooting and dribbling. Teams don't expect me to step out and make a three or to come down and run the offense. It's a good threat to have."

And it is a threat the Wildcats (19-5) will need Saturday morning against an opponent ranked second among all girls basketball teams in the commonwealth and ranked in the top 100 nationally by the website Maxpreps.com.

The Archbishop Williams Bishops (22-5) were seeded seventh in the South sectional but dispatched with their opponents by an average margin of 19.5 points in four games. The only team to come close to the Bishops was Norwell in the sectional semifinals, where Archbishop Williams prevailed, 42-32, in a defensive struggle. On Monday night, the Bishops dispatched North champion Pentucket, 52-38.

Lee coach Gary Wellington was well aware what kind of challenge his team would face as it goes for the school's eighth state title on Saturday at Worcester's DCU Center.

"I'll get right back in the gym [Tuesday] and probably tell 'em we're playing the Celtics," he said. "We've been watching them all year. They're a dynamite program. Just to stay in the game with them will be a pleasure -- to be close at halftime -- because that's a good team down there, it really is."

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