sports 4 days ago

Warriors bask in the glory of winning Division IV South title and trip to the Garden

Taunton Daily Gazette, Mass. — Steve Sanchez Taunton Daily Gazette, Mass.

March 11--TAUNTON -- For Jenna Piatelli and Kelsey Towle, the moment was exhilarating.

While the other senior players -- Abbie Kurtzer and Stacie Leonard -- were helping the Coyle-Cassidy girls basketball team hold down a slim margin against the Cathedral, the senior duo was trying to keep their emotions in check on the sidelines.

As the clock wound down to triple zeros in Saturday's Division IV South sectional final, Piatelli and Towle realized their last season in a Warrior uniform just capped off with a South title.

Now the journey to Springfield continues with a trip to the Garden.

"I can't believe this," Piatelli said. "I've been waiting for this for four years."

Towle said she had a lot of faith through the contest.

"Yes, we knew we could do this," Towle said.

C-C will be making its first trip to the state semifinal since 2011 when they take on North champion Fenway at TD Garden in Boston on Monday at 2:15 p.m.

Saturday's performance by the Warriors proved to be their best offensive showing of the season.

The Warriors started strong in the first quarter, knocking down 12 of their first 17 shots to take an early 28-15 lead over the Panthers. The hot shooting continued for C-C in the second quarter as the Warriors went into the locker room with a 47-32 lead.

"The start was fantastic," C-C head coach Mike O'Brien said. We've seen them several times, whether it be live on film or [in person], be down in the game. Each time, they have come right back. When they came back in the third quarter, it was no surprise to the team. I can't say enough about our team's mental toughness in that game."

After the contest, the Warrior players were at a lost of words after winning the Division IV South title and upcoming trip to the Garden. But the smiles said all you needed to know about their feelings.

"It's crazy," C-C junior center Sam Hourihan said. "I've been dreaming of this since eighth grade when I came here. I'm so happy for us and proud of us for that we've done. It is so good for the school, the team and the community. I mean, it is so great."

Warrior junior guards Rachael Johnson and Kaylee Haynes were also at a loss for words about their upcoming trip to the Garden.

"I mean it is amazing," Johnson said. "I don't know what to say."

Haynes said she is ready to play ball once again.

"I've never been here in all my life," Haynes said. "I've been dreaming of this and winning the state championship. We have to go out there and prove we could do it."

The Warriors will be facing another formidable opponent in the Panthers, who are led by 6-foot-3 center Me'Ara Carter.

Carter is a threat for a double-double each night on the floor. Senior guard Shania Tarver also crashes the boards and dishes out assists. Colby Upchurch and Janyah Gulley are also capable of big nights.

It's almost game time for this C-C girls basketball team.

They look to keep it rolling Monday.


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