Rebels Girls Basketball takes no prisoners in domination of Natick

James Cullinane

Coach Stacy Bilodeau, along with Boys Basketball coach David St. Martin, has faced the challenge of rebuilding from losing a spectacular senior class which included Captains Lauren Baryski, Sydni Salvatore, and Sarah Roof.  Like St. Martin, Bilodeau has taken the approach of this season being a “reloading” year, rather than a rebuilding year.  This 2010 Rebel squad features of a mix of youth and experience, a unique variety that was not seen in the 2009 Rebels remarkable season.  This is one of the main reasons why the Rebels were 2-0 entering Friday’s big game against the Red and Blue of Natick, and ended up on top with a 60-42 victory at the high school. 

Sophomore Shannon Cullen started the game off with a bang on both sides of the ball.  On Natick’s first trip down the court, Cullen let the Red and Blue know that she was going to be a force in the paint all night with a ferocious block.  On Walpole’s first possession, Cullen posted up in the paint and subsequently scored the first two points of the game on an overpowering lay up.  The story of the first quarter was the rebounding battle between both team’s interior players.  Cullen, along with senior center Christine Carty, brought about key offensive rebounds throughout the quarter.  Senior Captain Brooke Waite hit a clutch three pointer to put the Rebels up 11-10 at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter was played to perfection by the Rebels.  Cullen continued to be a force, scoring a layup on an assist from Waite, then sinking a baseline jumper.  Waite then converted on a layup after a nifty move to avoid Natick defenders.  Freshman Bridget Nicholson, who has looked like a phenom through the early stages of the season, earned key playing time in the second quarter and took advantage of it.  Nicholson showcased her defense skills from the moment she entered the game at point guard.  Nicholson first poked the ball out of the hands of Natick guard Katie Biagi hands, then dished the ball to Waite for an easy layup on the fast break.  The phenomenal freshman then found herself in a mismatch against a much bigger Natick player and responded by making one of the best defensive plays of the night by timing the shot of her opponent and showcasing incredible jumping ability and blocking her shot.  This play sent the crowd into a frenzy and energized the Walpole squad.  On the Rebels next possession Nicholson buried a three in the face of a Natick defender.  From this point on, the game became a blowout.  The first half ended with the Rebels on top 38-15.  Cullen and Waite lead the Rebels in points at half with 10 and 8 respectively.

The Rebels did not slow down their onslaught in the third quarter.  Captain Molly Grimes showcased her shooting ability by knocking down a deep three, along with multiple mid-range jumpers.  Christine Carty and Bridget Nicholson continued their stingy defense and forced multiple jump balls along with continuing relentless offensive rebounding.  Senior Liz Malone also chipped in multiple baskets and assists.  At the end of the third quarter the score held at 56-26.

In the fourth quarter, Bilodeau finally called off the dogs and urged her team to ease up, out of respect for the Red and Blue.  Waite and Grimes, were replaced by future leaders, sophomores Adrianna Frattasio and Michaela Brown, who did their best to take advantage of important varsity experience.  Natick made a brief run that was shut down quick by the smothering Rebel defense.  The game ended with a final score of 60-42.  Waite and Malone lead the Rebels in scoring with 13 points, followed closely behind by Grimes, with 12.  Cullen also chipped in with 12 points and a great performance in the battle of the boards.  This victory moved the Rebels to 3-0.  The Rebels will square off with Newton North on Tuesday, December 21.