BOSTON -- Less than a minute left, down by four, New Bedford is inbounding the ball and all they can think about is scoring another basket, making it a 6-0 run for the Whalers. Ally Fazio from Andover had another plan; steal the ball, get it into Nicole Boudreau’s hands, who will score the final four points of the game from the free throw line, sealing the 54-46 win for Andover tonight at the TD Garden.
“Ally is a huge part of this team,” said Andover junior guard Nicole Boudreau (28 pts, 12 rebounds, five steals, two blocks). “We know she has great driving skills, and offensive skills, but we really need her for defense. She’s a great on the ball defender.”
“I’m really confident in Nicole shooting foul shots for us,” said Fazio (6 points, four rebounds). “We got a pretty good lead… so I was confident.”
Early in the third quarter, New Bedford (23-1) took the lead on an Alexia Barros (17 points, eight rebounds) three pointer. Nicole Boudreau tied it up at 31 with a field goal, but then the Whalers’ Brianna Perry (eight points) and Barros both scored, putting New Bedford up by four at 35-31.
“I could see my kids dropping their heads a little,” said Andover coach James Tildsley. He then called a time out. “‘Hey, we’re getting good shots, we’ve just got to hit them,’” Tildsley told the girls during the break.
Lo and behold, they started hitting shots. By the end of the barrage, the Golden Warriors (25 -1) outscored New Bedford 14-2 for the remainder of the quarter, going up 45-37 heading into the fourth quarter.
“I thought we were carless with the basketball on two or three occasions, which led to easy baskets that didn’t allow our defense to set,” said New Bedford head coach Mickey Gonsalves. “When it comes down to it, seems like that could have been the difference in the game.”
New Bedford’s 5-foot-11 Arielle Gomes had 16 rebounds and ten points, but Tildsley was proud of his 5-foot-5 sophomore Jackie Alois who he felt did a good job on Gomes.
“She got her tired, but she is a great player,” added Tildsley, after praising the resilience of the entire New Bedford team for staying in the game.
The fourth quarter was even scoring wise, with both teams scoring nine, but six of Andover’s nine came from Boudreau who was 4-6 from the line in the quarter, 8-10 for the game.
“I probably got more assists than points,” said Natalie Gomez-Martinez, who literally jumped into the Will McDonough media room, tapping the door frame as if it were a backboard. She was correct, as she had 10 assists and five points. But she was OK with her shots not falling, as she felt comfortable playing her role. “I’m a playmaker first, then a scorer… I had a low scoring game, but I’d rather have the win.”
Besides dishing out dimes to her teammates, Gomez-Martinez spent some face time with the famed parquet floor making sure that her team had the chance to make their shots.
“She wasn’t hitting her shot, and those will come, but she didn’t drop her head,” said Tildsley. “She had a great defensive game on Roach and she kept us together. She gets after those loose balls. She hits the floor too. She wants to win.”
“I usually carry [the hustle] throughout the season but tonight was definitely more special,” said Gomez-Martinez. “Playing my last game here at the Garden as a senior, when we were close in the game, I tried going all over the court and just play my heart out, because who knows, it could have been my last game. So I don’t regret anything, I went for loose balls and I did all that because that’s my game, and it was awesome.”