There was certainly no cheering when Duxbury learned they had drawn Wellesley in the first round of the MIAA Division II South Sectional.

The #13-seeded Lady Dragons (12-8) weren’t a good match-up against the #4-seeded Raiders, who came into the tournament with a 17-3 record that included a 12-point win over #2-seed Walpole just a week earlier.

With 6’1” senior captain Lindsay Sydness and 6’0” junior Jesse Miller in the paint for Wellesley, Duxbury Coach Mark Dunn wrote a goal on the chalkboard before his team took the floor: box out and rebound.{sidebar id=4}

“We had talked all week about it, and I put that as our main goal on the chalkboard,” said Dunn. “I looked at the shooting chart for Wellesley in the first half and every shot was a lay-up.”

If the Lady Dragons were to have any chance of knocking off the Raiders, boxing out and rebounding would be the key.{sidebar id=1}

Unfortunately for Duxbury, neither could be achieved, as every member of the Raiders took their turn on the offensive boards and continuously beat the Lady Dragons to missed shots for second and third chances that turned into a 65-43 win for Wellesley and ended the winter season for Duxbury HS sports.

While rebounding was the key to any hopes of an upset, keeping possession of the ball was also crucial. In that regard the Lady Dragons were just as hopeless, turning the ball over 21 times and taking ill-advised shots when patience was a necessity.

The team seemed to lack confidence when they came out on the floor, but after four minutes they held their own and trailed 4-3 when Katie Curley hit a shot from the top of the key.

Dunn called a timeout with 1:57 left in the quarter after the Raiders jumped ahead 11-5, as he hoped to convince his squad that a lack of rebounding would do them in.

Entering the second quarter trailing 13-7, Duxbury hoped to stay close. Instead they went ice cold from the field, turning the ball over frequently while letting the Raiders crash the boards at will. By the time the half had ended, the visitors trailed 35-14.

Duxbury came out of the locker room with heads held low, and it was evident their spirits were down, as they let Wellesley burst from the gate and go on an 11-2 run to make it 46-16 with four minutes left in the quarter.

What could have been the low point of the game suddenly lit a small fire under the Lady Dragons, who picked up their game the rest of the quarter and cut the deficit to 48-26 as the quarter neared its end.

Duxbury would outscore Wellesley 17-15 in the fourth quarter, as they didn’t fold their tents. But the damage had been down in the first half, making a comeback bid nearly impossible.

“We were down 21 points at halftime, and we lost by 22, so I say we played them pretty evenly in the second half,” said Dunn. “They were a great team. They were skilled, they passed the ball well, they played good defense and they rebounded well.”

 

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Duxbury’s Alexa Shanahan tries to prevent the Raiders from getting to the basket.
Kelly Curley had her hands full all night long against the tall and aggressive Wellesley frontcourt, but still managed to lead the Lady Dragons with 15 points, while junior Sara Botieri chipped in with eight points.

 

The game also marked the end of the high school basketball careers for seniors Ashley Dugre, Jessica Millis, and Jenn Geary, but leaves Dunn with a very experienced roster for next year’s run at a title.{sidebar id=6}