Duxbury Coach Bob Sullivan called Notre Dame the best 10-10 team in the state. But that didn’t seem to scare his Lady Dragon basketball team, as they treated the Cougars like they would any other .500 team and dominated inside in the first eight minutes while on their way to a 57-39 semifinal win at Massasoit Community College on Wednesday night in Brockton.

 

The impressive win puts No. 4 seeded Duxbury (21-2) into Saturday’s MIAA Division II South Sectional final against No. 2 seed Medfield (22-1) at UMass-Boston starting at 2 p.m.

Notre Dame had been impressive in its tournament opener, knocking off No. 1 seeded Oliver Ames by 10 points in a 48-38 win.

As impressive as that may have been, it may not have compared with the performance that the Lady Dragons put on Wednesday.

Racing out to a 22-9 lead in the first quarter, the Lady Dragons’ strategy to use Kate Norton as a three-point decoy worked to perfection, as the ball swung to sophomore guard Maddie Foote on three occasions in the first quarter and she buried all three shots for nine points in the first eight minutes.

Norton did nail a three on her first attempt and Bridget Quilty got inside for five points in the first four minutes to contribute to Duxbury’s first-quarter performance.

Foote would nail her fourth trey of the game with 1:42 left in the half to make it 29-16, answering a three-pointer by Notre Dame’s McKenna Cudgma that looked like it would give the Cougars some momentum for a comeback.

A Michela North hoop with 1:07 to go and another North bucket at the buzzer off a Norton steal put Duxbury ahead 33-18 at the half.

North continued to add to her game-high 23 points by scoring the first two baskets of the third quarter and forcing ND Coach Mike Barrett to call an immediate timeout to keep the game from getting out of hand.

The pace of the game took a dramatic downturn in the third quarter, as Duxbury out-scored the Cougars 8-6 and saw the quarter end on a Catherine Harrison block that showed there were no easy baskets going to be allowed.

Ahead 41-24 with eight minutes to play, Harrison started things off with a pair of baskets to maintain Duxbury’s lead at 45-28. Sullivan called a timeout to explain his game-ending strategy and it didn’t take a genius to figure out what it was: get the ball inside to North.

Over the next four minutes the senior captain scored nine points to up the lead to 57-35, allowing Sullivan to call a timeout and bring in his bench players and give a deserved rest to his starters.

“It helps to score,” said Sullivan. “But our main focus is on defense. Everything we do starts on the defensive end. Sure we had to make shots, but when we made stops they couldn’t set up their press. When we play defense like we did in that first quarter we can beat a lot of teams.”

North led the way with 23 points, while Foote (12), Norton (8), Quilty (6), Emma Gill (4), and Harrison (4) also contributed offensively to the win.