Plymouth South Girls' Basketball Falls in Tournament Opener
Visiting Stoughton beat Plymouth South 42-35 Wednesday evening in the first round of the MIAA Division 1 South Sectional Tournament.
Playing lockdown defense from the opening tip, it took about a quarter for the Stoughton High girls' basketball team to find its rhythm on offense, but once the Black Knights found their shooting touch, visiting Stoughton opened up the game and beat host Plymouth South 42-35 Wednesday night in a first round game of the MIAA Division 1 South Sectional Tournament.
Stoughton, the 10th seed, improves to 14-7 and advances to play #2 Braintree (21-2) Friday night on the road. Braintree beat #18 Quincy 69-24 Wednesday night. Meanwhile, Plymouth South, the 7th seed, ends its season at 14-7.
"It was tough for us to find offense tonight. I thought we played good enough defense to win the game but unfortunately Stoughton did too," Plymouth South coach Summer Ivan said.
Trailing 8-4 early in the second quarter, Mackenzie McGrath hit a three-pointer with 6:05 left in the half and Nicole Daniels scored a two-pointer a minute later to give Stoughton a 9-8 lead.
The Black Knights maintained the lead for the rest of the game.
With Stoughton up 20-10, Plymouth South's Tessa Harkenrider hit a three at the buzzer to cut Stoughton's lead to 20-13 at the half. Serena Colbert scored a two-pointer to make it a 20-15 game with about 6:30 left in the third, but then Stoughton went on an 11-2 run over the next three-plus minutes, fueled by 7 points from McGrath to take a 14-point lead, 31-17, with 3:16 left in the third.
Stoughton took a 32-21 lead into the fourth and used an 8-2 run (again fueled by McGrath, who had six points during the stretch) to go up 40-23 midway through the quarter.
Plymouth South closed strong, ending the game on a 12-2 run, but it was too late - Stoughton already had the game well in hand by that point.
The game featured a battle between a pair of six-footers at center - Daniels from Stoughton and Christina Jaros from Plymouth South. Daniels scored 12 points and 15 rebounds and held her counterpart to 7 points.
"The two of them offensively kind of neutralized each other but it was [Daniels'] defense in the middle that prevented anyone else from going inside so they totally relied on their outside shot and they just didn't hit their outside shots because again good defense by everyone. We switched up to a 3-2 [zone] and seemed to take their outside game away and [Daniels] was neutralizing their inside game," Sullivan said.
McGrath led Stoughton with 20 points.
Harkenrider, a freshman, led Plymouth South with 11 points; fellow freshman Maddie Norris added 9 points; and Colbert had 5.
"I thought coming into tonight if we shoot well we can come away with a win," Ivan said. "We didn't shoot well until the last three minutes of the game. I think if we just hit some of those shots early, I think it might have been a different game."
Photos and video in the media gallery by Justin Braga; Josh Brown contributed reporting.