MIAA state girls finals preview, picks
One year after coming up just short, Andover is looking to finish the job.
The No. 1 Golden Warriors will take the floor for Friday night’s Division 1 state final unbeaten and looking to avenge last year’s state final defeat. Anna Foley has been one of the top players in Massachusetts all seasonas her size and footwork makes her a nightmare down low. Alongside Foley are Amelia Hanscom, Marissa Kobelski and Kathleen Yates.
In order for Andover to take home the crown, however, they will have to take down a Bishop Feehan team that gave it fits in the Comcast Tournament. The Shamrocks have plenty of depth with Samantha Reale, Madelyn Steel and Charlotte Adams-Lopez all capable of providing key impacts.
Division 2 promises to be one of the top games of the weekend as Dracut and superstar Ashlee Talbot take on Foxboro. The Middies have a strong cast around Talbot, including Emma Felker and defensive stalwart Amaya Alkassar.
Foxboro is no stranger to the big stage and owns a 19game winning streak entering Saturday evening. The Warriors have held opponents to 40 points or fewer on 15 occasions, including most recently in its semifinal win over No. 1 Walpole. Junior Cam Collins, the Hockomock League’s most valuable, is Foxboro’s star, while Kailey Sullivan, Erin Foley, and Addie Ruter help round out Lisa Downs’ bunch.
St. Mary’s Lynn looks like a team of destiny in Division 3 but will have to take down Catholic Central League foe Bishop Fenwick to hoist the trophy. Niya Morgen and Yirsy Queliz are dynamic offensive playmakers for the Spartans to go alongside Reese Matela and Kellyn Preira. On the flip side, Fenwick will rely heavily on a defense that has yet to allow over 40 points in the tournament.
In Division 4, Wahconah impressed by knocking off Malden Catholic before cruising past a Littleton team that upset Tynsboro, but has to face a battle-tested Cathedral team. The Panthers hold a win over Dracut and St. Mary’s and has the star backcourt of Keyona Raines Hijjah Allen-Paisley leading the charge. Wahconah is in its first state title in 21 years and has the potential to be
lethal from beyond the arc as evidenced by its 18-three pointers in its semifinal win.
The Division 5 game features the top two seeds as No. 1 Millis and secondseeded Springfield International face off. Millis earned the top seed in the bracket despite holding a 12-8 record but have proved they were more than worthy of the ranking as evidenced by its 10-point win over perennial contender Hoosac Valley.
Bishop Feehan has had a tremendous run, but Andover has been chomping at the bit to avenge last year’s state final defeat all season. PICK >> 66-62, Andover
Ashlee Talbot’s career ending with a state championship seems only right. This one will be worth the price of admission.
PICK >> 60-55, Dracut
St. Mary’s has been the team to beat in Division 3 wire to wire. A state championship will be the capper. PICK >> 68-54, St. Mary’s
Expect this one to be closer than perhaps some expect. Wahconah can get white hot from the threepoint line.
PICK >> 65-61, Cathedral
Battle of the top two seeds goes down to the wire.
PICK >> 56-54, Millis