The MIAA Division 1, 2, 3, and 4 girls’ basketball state finals will be held Saturday in Worcester. Here’s a look at all the matchups.
Matchup: Braintree (21-4) vs. Springfield Central (19-2)
Saturday at Holy Cross, 2:15 p.m.
Coaches: Kristen McDonnell, 10th year (Braintree), Erik Maurer, seventh year (Springfield Central)
Braintree starting 5: F Ariana Fay (Sr.); F Jeniyah Jones (Sr.); G Adriana Timberlake (Sr.); G Barbara Ronca (Sr.); G Lily Adams (So.)
Springfield Central starting 5: G Jaliena Sanchez (Sr.); G Selenya Gonzalez (Sr.); G Rosheda Guthrie (Jr.); G Alecia Maxwell (Jr.); G Nala Roache (So.)
The lowdown: This is the teams’ fourth meeting in the D1 final in five years, with Braintree taking titles in 2015 and 2018 and Central winning in 2017. Last year, Braintree won a thriller, 59-56. Watch for the Timberlake and Sanchez matchup on the perimeter. Braintree senior forwards Jeniyah Jones and Ariana Fay are important pieces and give Braintree grit. Selenya Gonzalez is a talented senior for Springfield Central. If Braintree can hold Central’s star guards in check, it can repeat.
Matchup: PENTUCKET (23-3) vs. NORTHAMPTON (19-4)
Saturday at Holy Cross, 4:30 p.m.
Coaches: John McNamara, 13th year (Pentucket); Perry Messer, 11th year (Northampton).
Pentucket starting 5: G Maddie Doyle (Sr.); G Angelica Hurley (Jr.); G Angelina Yacubacci (Jr.); G Jessica Galvin (Sr.); C Liv Cross (Sr.).
Northampton starting 5: G Emily Sledzieski (Jr.); G Jill McGrath (Jr.); G Amanda Mieczkowski (Jr.); F Sydney Lewandowski (Jr.); C Kolbie Jones (Sr).
The lowdown: Pentucket has been highly motivated since letting a 20-point lead slip away to Foxborough in last year’s state semifinals. Relentless full-court pressure fuels a defense that is yielding just 36 points per game in the postseason. Senior guard Maddie Doyle is a spirited leader. For a Northampton squad vying for its first state title since 2008, Sydney Lewandowski and Kolbie Jones are going to have to be difference-makers down low.
Matchup: St. Mary’s (18-6) vs. Hoosac Valley (20-4)
Saturday at WPI, 12 p.m.
Coaches: Jeff Newhall, 14th year (St. Mary’s), Ron Wojcik, ninth year (Hoosac Valley)
St. Mary’s starting 5: F Jannise Avelino (Jr.); G Pam Gonzalez (Sr.); G Olivia Matela (Jr.); G Nicole D’Itria (Jr.); G Yirsy Queliz (8th.)
Hoosac Valley starting 5: F Riley Robinson (Jr.); G Alie Mendel (Sr.); G Lexi Mercier (Sr.); G Sarah Field (Jr.); G Shaleigh Levesque (Jr.)
The lowdown: Both teams shoot well from long range. St. Mary’s has a bit more size, and Gonzalez has been sensational in the tourney. Hoosac Valley has played sound team basketball in its run through the West and Central, blitzing opponents with four double-digit wins and three with at least a 20-point margin. St. Mary’s has the size and athleticism to keep up.
Matchup: CATHEDRAL (21-2) vs. HOPKINS (19-6)
Saturday at WPI, 4:30 p.m.
Coaches: Clinton Lassiter, fifth year (Cathedral); Michael Prattico, first year (Hopkins).
Cathedral starting 5: G Dejah Jenkins (Sr.); G Amani Boston (Sr.); G Kiara Ansley (Jr.); F Kaiya Duverna (Sr.); F Mackenzie Daleba (Jr).
Hopkins starting 5: G Samantha Jenks (Sr); G Sara Beauchamp (So.); F Thea Hanscom (Jr.); F Allison Kowal Safron (Jr.); F AJ Mitchell (Sr.).
The lowdown: Cathedral has been operating like a well-oiled machine since the start of the playoffs, defeating opponents by an average of 31.6 ppg. Cathedral has won two of the past three state titles. Hopkins had never won a sectional title before this season, and must have success from beyond the arc.