For the second year in a row, the Oliver Ames girls' basketball team was upset in the first round of the Div. 2 Massachusetts South Sectional Tournament.
Thanks to a 26-10 second half in favor of the underdogs, No. 16 Notre Dame Academy toppled No. 1 Oliver Ames at the Nixon Gymnasium in Easton Wednesday night by a final of 48-38.
NDA will move on to play at Holliston Friday at 7 p.m. in a sectional quarter final game.
"I don’t think it was a scenario where we took them lightly," OA coach Elaine Clement-Holbrook said. "It was that we didn’t execute and let them hang around, and they started to believe in themselves and hit a couple of shots and we just couldn’t make the shots when we needed to make down the stretch."
The shocking loss mirrors that of a year ago when the 4th seeded '11-'12 Tigers fell to 13th seeded Fontbonne Academy.
OA took a 28-22 lead into the half, but were unable to get anything going in the second half. Met with ADA's stifling match-up zone, OA only mustered two 3-pointers in the third period and 4 total points in the fourth period.
Meanwhile, NDA chipped away at OA's lead. The Cougars were led by sophomore McKenna Cudgma, who finished the game with 26 points. Senior guard Alex Dalton finished with 12 points.
Many of NDA's points were in the open court.
"We wear teams down because we get out in that fast break," NDA coach Michael Barrett said. "We play in a very small gym and I hate it. When you play on a court like this it opens up the fast break and it shows what you can do."
Defensively, the Cougars kept the ball out of OA senior Caitlyn Abela's hands, holding her scoreless in the second half after a 14-point first half.
"We kept it out of [Abela]’s hands a lot," Barrett said. "I think the difference was rebounding and taking the ball on the fast break."
Abela's 14 first half points led the Tigers for the game. Junior Kate Holleran nailed four 3-pointers for 12 points.
It was the final game for OA's five seniors: Abela, fellow co-captain Asia Mitchell, center Kristin Ellis, guard Kelsey Bliss and forward Alli Brennan.
Each senior contributed significantly to the program, Clement-Holbrook said.
"When a season ends, no matter what it is, I always ask if anyone has anything they want to say to the seniors about the seniors," she said. "The thing that came across loud and clear is that there was a sisterhood. They didn’t want it to end because they had great chemistry and they really truly love each other like a family. You don’t get that very often. I think that that is what makes this even more painful."