STOUGHTON, Mass. – Stoughton and Sharon had combined for 13 points through the opening 12 minutes of the second half and the Black Knights went into the closing stretch holding onto a slim six-point lead in Friday night’s season finale for both teams. Needing a spark to finish with a win, Stoughton turned to its senior and leading scorer.
Shyanne Trinh scored five of her team-high 11 points in a 30-second span to turn a close game into a double-digit lead and the Black Knights scored the game’s final 10 points to pull out a 37-22 victory that split the season series with the Eagles.
“It hasn’t been the easiest season for us because there’s been a lot of close games that they just didn’t finish off but tonight they fought and they’re a representation of what I hope for the future of this program with their heart and their hustle.”
Trinh hit a step-back, straightaway three for her first points of the second half and then Wright (10 points and 15 rebounds) grabbed a defensive board on the next Sharon possession and her quick look ahead found Trinh for a transition basket.
After not having scored for more than four minutes in the fourth, Stoughton found the spark it needed to put the game away. A couple of free throws and a runner off the glass by Jess Maddalena sealed the win.
Sharon (4-16) was held to only eight points after the break and the 15-point deficit at the final whistle could have been much narrower, but the Eagles shot only 8-for-27 from the line and made only two shots from the field in the second half.
“Especially against a team that’s playing a zone, you’re attacking the rim but you’ve got to finish or get to the line, which we did but just couldn’t hit our foul shots tonight,” said Sharon coach Sandy Lombardi.
The hosts got off to a strong start to the game, jumping out to a 7-0 lead. Wright scored six in the first quarter, including a defensive rebound that she turned into a fastbreak layup. Mackenzie Manning also started well, scoring five of her seven points in the first. She buried a three that put Stoughton ahead 13-3.
Lombardi said. “I knew being their senior night that they were going to come out rip-roaring and ready to go and we beat them last time, so maybe a revenge night on senior night. They came out and were ready to play and I don’t think we were at the beginning of the game.”
Offense became a grind for both teams starting in the second, as they combined for three made field goals, Fandel (10 points and 11 rebounds) had both buckets for the Eagles and scored five points in the quarter, but Sharon only managed eight points in the second.
The positive for the Eagles was defense, as they held the Black Knights to only seven. Trinh scored four for Stoughton, including a tough runner, but it was the only made shot in the second.
“Our defense always keeps us in games,” said Lombardi. “I thought we played pretty good defense. We just sometimes struggle to score and that’s what happens tonight.”
It remained a struggle on offense heading out of halftime.
Sharon made only one shot in the third, a Fandel post move off an assist from Ally Brown, and knocked down three free throws (on eight attempts). Stoughton managed to hit two shots, one from Wright off a Trinh assist and another on a Manning drive to the rim, but those were the only points from the Black Knights, who led 27-19 heading to the fourth.
Steele Jordan said, “Every time we’ve got to play them, you just know it’s going to be a fight. We’re crosstown rivals and it’s a battle. Wallace is a tough player and No. 1 (Fandel), they were exposing us on the low block.”
Brown got the fourth quarter started well by knocking down a three that cut the lead to just five. Kyla Sheedy-Goff (five rebounds) got a free throw to push the lead to six, but both teams went scoreless for several minutes until Trinh turned the game on its head.
Stoughton (9-11) finished the season one win shy of a playoff berth, which includes a loss to Sharon in the first meeting. “You always want to finish the season on a win,” said Steele Jordan. “There are games that I can point to, there are a lot of games you look back on think, dang we were right there.”
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