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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Two of the area’s top girls basketball programs squared off on Monday afternoon to conclude their respective regular seasons as Walpole, led by sophomore sensation Sydney Scales, hosted non-league foe Medfield, led by Harvard-bound and recently-named TVL MVP Maggie McCarthy.
Back on January 18, the Lady Rebels (15-5, 7-3) went into Medfield and earned a hard-fought 50-43 victory. Heading into the rematch, Walpole was hoping to earn back a little respect in the Boston Herald poll against the No. 23 Warriors (15-5, 11-2); the Rebels recently dropped out the rankings following back-to-back defeats to Braintree and Wellesley.
Behind yet another monster double-double performance by junior center Jill White (26 points, 14 rebounds), Walpole was able to pull away from sophomore center Ceanna Kinney (10 points, 16 rebounds) and the Warriors in the second half for a 58-33 victory.
The Lady-Rebels began the game on a 16-2 run, which included a pair of three-pointers by senior captain and guard Bridget Lanchester (11 points, seven assists), as well as six straight by White. Layups by senior captain Emma Anderson and sophomore guard Kayla McNeil cut the deficit to 16-6 for Medfield at the end of one.
A pair of layups by Kinney cut the deficit to 20-12 for Medfield early in the second quarter. Walpole responded with a 9-2 run, thanks to a pair of layups by White along with a layup by senior captain and guard Selena Giampa (five points), extending Walpole lead to 29-14. Medfield then scored five straight points, with McCarthy shooting home a two-point jumper and a three-pointer by junior captain Erin Seibel, cutting the deficit to 29-19 at halftime.
The Warriors came out in the second half and cut the deficit down to 31-24 early in the third quarter, but Walpole responded with a 14-5 run that included a pair of free throws by White, a three-pointer by Lanchester, and a three-pointer by Giampa to stretch their lead to 45-29 early in the fourth.
A three-pointer by McCarthy early in the fourth cut the deficit to 45-32, but the Rebels kept feeding the monster that was Jill White, who, in turn, kept putting home layup after layup until finally guiding the Rebels to a commanding 52-33 lead with under a minute to play. Walpole scored six more points in the game’s final 50 seconds and went on to prevail by a final of 58-33.
At the time of print, both the Rebels and Warriors will enjoy a little down time while their seedings are determined for the MIAA State Tournament, where both schools will hope to make long and successful runs.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0, or read his blog at www.flannylive.wordpress.com.