Ryan’s Late Threes Lift Walpole to Tournament Win


Walpole’s center goes up for a shot.

Peter Hoegler

Walpole's center goes up for a shot.
Walpole’s center goes up for a shot.

For most of her high school career, senior Captain Elizabeth Ryan has been sidelined with a back injury, hoping to just get back on the court with her teammates. E could never have imagined that she would hit three clutch three-pointers in the fourth quarter to lift her team to their first Tournament win since 2010.

After shaking off a rough first half, Ryan and the No. 8 Walpole Girls Basketball (13-8) used tenacious defense and timely shooting to backbone a 48-42 comeback victory against No. 9 Notre Dame Academy in the first round of the Division 2 South Sectional Tournament. The Rebels now have a quarterfinal date at No. 1 Duxbury (21-0) on Thursday night at 6:30.

“Even though I wasn’t shooting well in the beginning, my teammates still believed in me and kept telling me to shoot,” said Ryan. “We had a lot of things going against us, but everyone did their job. We had just enough to win this game against a very good Notre Dame team.”

Head Coach Jim Gallivan gets his first tournament win as a Walpole Rebel after replacing Stacy Bilodeau in the off-season. Gallivan played a total of eleven players, including freshman Melanie Weber, who provided a spark off the bench with 10 points–eight of which coming in the pivotal comeback in the third quarter.

“There were a lot of things going against us, but a lot people did a little bit of this and little bit of that, and we have enough people on our team that the depth is really helping,” said coach Gallivan. “I think we played 11 or 12 kids and there is something that everyone did.”

Junior Summer King, who has been battling the flu for a week now, finished with a team-high 12 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks. King was especially effective in the first half, but NDA was able to contain her down the stretch. However, when King was double or even triple-teamed, there was more space for Walpole guards Weber and Ryan to shoot.

In the first half, Ryan was 0-5 from behind the arc and rimmed out on her first attempt in the second. But with 2:40 to play, Ryan hit her first three of the night to give the Rebels their first lead since the opening minute. The Cougars came back with two free throws to take back the lead, 40-39, but Ryan, again, came back and hit another open three to give Walpole a 42-39 lead. Following a pair of Notre Dame missed free throws, Ryan banged home another 3 for the 45-40 lead with 1:35 remaining, and the Cougars never recovered.

“I only dreamed of making that much of an impact in a tournament game,” said Ryan. “But we would never be in that position in the fourth quarter if it wasn’t for Mel Weber.”

Weber hit two free throws with 7.2 seconds left to seal the victory, but her greatest impact came in the third quarter when the girls were in a 30-24 hole. Weber entered the game, with only playing limited minutes all season, and drained two straight threes to knot the score at 30 heading into the fourth quarter.

Walpole takes on Patriot League Champion Duxbury, who defeated No. 16 Silver Lake 51-35 in the first round, tonight at 6:30. If the Rebels are going to pull of the upset, they are going to have to get more magic from Ryan and Weber.