Grace Bennis sank a driving layup with 20 seconds to go to lift fourth-seeded Hingham past No. 1 Norwood and into the Division 2 South sectional final with a 62-57 win on Monday night at Taunton High.
Up by three with under a minute remaining, Hingham (20-3) needed a basket to seal it. Seconds later, the 5-foot-2 Bennis — the game’s leading scorer with 23 points — received a pass from Ryley Blasetti on the left wing, drove the lane, and threw up a left-handed layup that banked in.
“We were looking for a shot and someone has to take it, whether it was Grace or Ryley,” said head coach Eugene Buczynski. “The two of them did a fantastic job.”
It was simple for Bennis.
“I saw an open lane and was like, might as well just hopefully seal this right now,” said the senior captain.
The Harbormen were able to hang on thanks in part to a quick 10-0 start, and 15 first-quarter points from Blasetti.
“Being here last year made us very calm to start the game,” said Buczynski. “We kind of built on that lead and held on.”
Foxborough 46, Old Rochester 29 — Behind 13 points and eight rebounds from Shakirah Ketant, the Warriors (21-2) pulled away from the Bulldogs (19-5) and advanced to face Hingham in Saturday’s sectional final at Taunton High.
Ketant did all of her damage in the first three quarters for the Warriors. Her offensive rebounds kept possessions alive for Foxborough.
“To get as many possessions as you can allows you to find those second, third, and even fourth options to shoot and score,” said Ketant.
Up by 12 at the start of the fourth, the Warriors closed out the win behind junior captain Katelyn Mollica, who stepped forward with 8 fourth-quarter points, including two 3-pointers.
“Old Rochester is a good team,” said Mollica. “I knew someone had to turn it on and secure that win.”
It was the D2 South semifinals that tripped up the Warriors last season, and they were determined not to let that happen again.
“We all collectively said that we never want to feel like that again,” said Ketant.
Division 2 North
North Reading 45, Marblehead 30 — Ali Grasso, Lauren Sullivan, and Sarah Gerber each scored 11 points to help the seventh-seeded Hornets (14-8) pull away in the second half from the second-seeded Magicians in the quarterfinal. The Hornets limited the Magicians to just 6 points in the fourth quarter. North Reading will face sixth-seeded Newburyport in the semifinals.
Division 4 North
Matignon 61, Malden Catholic 39 — With a pair of steals and eight quick points in the opening minutes, it certainly didn’t take long for Olivia Found to make it clear that she was in for a special night at Winthrop High.
The sophomore finished with a loaded statline of 16 points, 12 rebounds, 10 steals and eight assists as Matignon (19-1) advanced to play the winner of Maimonides and Fenway in the Division 4 North final on Friday at 6 p.m., at Tewksbury.
“[Olivia Found] makes us go on offense, teams have to put so much emphasis that it creates some openings,” said head coach Joe DiSarcina.
The Warriors (19-1) couldn’t, and didn’t, simply rely on the talents of their talisman. A resilient Malden Catholic team — comprised entirely of underclassmen in their first year as a varsity program — stuck around in the first half, at Matignon held just a 32-26 lead at the break.
DiSarcina responded by moving senior forward Emma Found, Olivia’s sister, from the wing into the middle of the Lancers’ zone, which helped open up the offense.
“I went inside to get my midrange game going, I think that worked once we dragged the defense out,” said Emma Found, who finished with a team-high 22 points.
Added Olivia, “When Emma went to the middle, I was able to cut through and keep the ball moving through the middle and kick it back out, and that really helped us.”
On the other end of the court, the Warriors stayed true to their help-oriented 1-3-1 zone and created a number of turnovers by pressing the ball handlers at the top of the key, which ultimately saw them through to a convincing win.
“We preach that defense and rebounding is going to get us through, game-to-game,” said DiSarcina.Seamus McAvoy reported from Winthrop. To report scores, call 617-929-2860/3235 or email [email protected].