By Avonlea Cummings
Hometown Weekly Reporter
After finishing out the regular season with a perfect 18-0 record, Medfield Girls Basketball faced their toughest challenge of the season with an invite to the prestigious IAABO 27 Comcast Tournament last weekend. Medfield, the top ranked Division 2 team in the state, would be bracketed with the three top teams in Division 1 for a showdown to determine Massachusetts girls hoop supremacy.
Medfield advanced to the tournament final with a hard fought win on Saturday over undefeated Woburn in their own gym. Senior Captain Kate Olenik scored a career high 33 points in the momentous 54-52 win, setting up a Monday afternoon finals matchup against top ranked powerhouse Andover.
Intensity filled the Woburn Memorial High gymnasium as spectators anxiously awaited the highly anticipated face off between the 19-0 clubs. Medfield struck the court with fervency, however Andover successfully executed their strategy of containing Olenik and controlling the pace with their superior strength and size. Andover’s 6’3’ Quinnipiac commit Anna Foley proved too much on the offensive end while Olenik’s exit late in the contest with an ankle injury put an end to the fourth quarter comeback attempt by the Warriors.
Junior captain Annie Stanton made her mark on the competition, knocking down threes and sliding past Andover’s defense on her way to pocketing 17 points in the battle. As a captain, Stanton brought together the whole team and left the court with heads held high knowing that there is a lot more in store for the Medfield Warriors.
“I think a loss is much more important than a win, I say this because we get to learn from it. We know that there are going to be a lot more things coming in the tournament. Today prepared us a lot, and we will be ready,” said Stanton.
Despite challenges outside of their control, Medfield had to find unique ways to improve throughout the matchup to compare to Andover’s tall defense. Head coach Mark Nickerson, though disappointed in a loss, sees this as an opportunity for improvement before heading to the state tournament.
“We really battled, the girls worked hard the entire game. We weren’t our best offensively today, and there were some issues defensively. Despite that, we still kept it within reach the entire game, which is a testament to their will. They went against a very good team with great players, the girls just worked hard and did the best they could,” said Nickerson.
Senior captain Kate Olenik was awarded All-Tourney honors award and the team is hopeful for her speedy return from the ankle injury.
“We are looking forward to a really long run in the tournament. We have a lot of depth on this team and we are going to do our best. Just taking each step of the way as it comes,” exclaimed Stanton.