WORCESTER, Mass. — Reading was honored before the Div. 2 state championship game for the sportsmanship the Rockets have shown in the 2011-12 season.
Apparantely being a good sport isn’t the only thing the Rockets were good at this season.
Reading captured its first-ever state championship in dominating fashion with a 48-27 victory over Tyngsboro at the DCU Center.
Olivia Healy warmed up in the second half and finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, while Melissa DalPozzo chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds.
The road has been 14 years long for head coach Kim Penney to a championship year, and the excitement and emotions were all over her face after the satisfying victory.
“We had a lot of alum in the crowd and we’ve got a lot of the people over the years that played for us that feel like they won it today with the girls,” said Penney, who had to take a moment to collect herself. “It was an emotional roller coaster. It hasn’t set in yet.”
Defense Wins Championships: It’s a cliché that has been uttered over and over again in the game of basketball, but when you can hold your opponent to under 20 percent shooting for the game and count on one hand how many field goals the Tigers were able to score in a 16 minute span then that cliché sounds more and more like reality.
The Tigers scored three field goals between the second and third quarters as the Rockets outscored their opponents 27-8 in that span.
“We are a pretty tall team and we have long arms,” said Healy. “We have been working on our close outs more, so we are not over-running them so they don’t have the open drive. It was basically just getting our hands up and making them shoot over us.”
“It was a little bit different than the last couple of games when we were playing post players, while this team was more of a perimeter (team),” echoed Penney.
Quiet Night from Healy -- not so quiet: Things weren’t easy for Healy offensively in the first half and most of the third quarter.
The junior wing was 1-for-8 in the first half for just three points, and she was consistently missing shots from inside the painted area that usually are automatic buckets for a player of her caliber.
The hustle to keep getting to the hoop in the second half started to pay off, as she got to the line nine times in the second and completed seven of them. Healy finished with 13 points, five rebounds and four assists in the final 16 minutes to keep the scoreboard tilted in the Rockets’ favor.
“There was one time when I went up for an easy lay-up and I went up two times, three times and it just wasn’t falling in," said Healy. "We stayed with it and the shots were going to fall in the second half,” said Healy. “We just had to adjust and get used to our surroundings.”