BOSTON — The winter sports season for the River Rival Region is now officially over.
Yesterday afternoon, inside a bustling TD Banknorth Garden, the season's best team, the Pentucket Sachems, lost a hard-fought contest against perhaps the best girls basketball team in the state, Archbishop Williams, 59-53.
A collective spirit of 10 experienced underclassmen and three passionate seniors, the Sachems finished their season 21-3.
Though the girls fell one game short of the state-title game for a second consecutive season to a talented AW team, this close-knit group has had a score of great memories, in this season alone, that many student-athletes may never experience.
And despite leaving without a victory, it was the way they lost that foreshadows future prominence.
Honorable in defeat, coach John McNamara acknowledged which team played best.
"You have to give Archbishop credit," said McNamara. "Their seniors played great; (Christine) Duffy made some tough drives at the end, and though we had them on the ropes, I have to believe they're the top team in the state."
The Archies came out that way, roaring out of the gates to a quick 13-4 lead, prompting McNamara to call a quick timeout.
The break in momentum worked, as Pentucket junior center Kirsten Daamen (16 points, 17 rebounds, 7 blocks) helped her team claw back into the mix by grabbing rebounds, and nailing free throws and soft turn-around jumpers.
Though nerves were certainly a factor at the game's start, the players were beginning to adjust. Sophomore guard Erin McNamara (15 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 steals) swished home a 3-pointer, giving the Sachems hope of an upset with the Archies up, 15-12.
The second quarter saw the Sachem defense begin to tighten, as Daamen, junior forward Andrea Attenasio (5 rebounds) and sophomore guard Holly Jakobsons (2 points) made the Bishop offense think twice about every possession.