After trailing by as much as 10 points early in the first half, the Stoughton High girls’ basketball team’s offense came alive in the third and fourth quarters, with the Black Knights earning a 47-44 come-from-behind win over Hingham’s Notre Dame Academy Tuesday evening in the final game of the Dedham Savings Bank Showcase at Sharon High.
Stoughton trailed Notre Dame 39-36 with 5 minutes to play, but Chrystal Holland hit a three-pointer in front of the Stoughton bench to tie the game.
Katherine Chlus followed on Stoughton’s next possession with a two-pointer to give Stoughton the lead and Nicole Daniels added a traditional three-point play on the next possession, giving the Black Knights a 44-39 advantage with 2:13 to play.
But in a back and forth quarter which featured nine lead changes or ties, Notre Dame had an answer. Alexandra Dalton hit a three-pointer, and following a Stoughton turnover, Audrey Bizak tied the game at 44 with 1:30 to play.
Daniels found Holland underneath the basket on Stoughton’s next possession, with Holland giving Stoughton the lead, 46-44, with 1:15 left to play. Holland’s basket turned out to be the game-winner.
Emma Zuk added a point from the free throw line and Notre Dame was held scoreless in the final minute, as the Black Knights held on for the three-point victory.
Stoughton won both games at the Sharon Tournament, beating Holliston by 13 on Monday. Holliston and Notre Dame, both 14-6 squads, are tournament bound teams.
Stoughton head coach Janet Sullivan said she “couldn’t be more pleased” with her team’s performance over the last two games. Stoughton ends its regular season at 13-6.
“I think it really sets us up well. We have some confidence. We’ve had a couple of tournament-type games now, so I think we’re well set for tournament now,” Sullivan said.
While Stoughton’s offensive burst in the second half of the Notre Dame game was key—30 of the team’s 47 points came in the third and fourth quarters—Sullivan said the difference in Tuesday’s win was Stoughton’s defense.
“[Notre Dame] has so many weapons, they have a great press, their transition game is great and they have wonderful outside shooting. I thought the difference in the game was our defense. The communication, the rotation on defense was tremendous,” Sullivan said.
“We struggled to beat their press but we did enough and got some good opportunities…We started out a little rough at the beginning of the second half but settled down and the offense came alive.”
Notre Dame coach Michael Barrett said his team would regroup following the loss.
“This is a lesson they learned. I don’t have to say a word to them. They understand what they did and what they didn’t do,” Barrett said. “They understand that they didn’t play well. They didn’t play their game. They were taken out of their game and we move on with it. We were not good [Tuesday night].”
Notre Dame took an early 10-2 lead and ended the first quarter up 13-7. After extending that lead to 17-7 in the opening minutes of the second quarter, Stoughton closed the half on a 10-2 run, with Notre Dame clinging to a 19-17 lead going into the third quarter.
Notre Dame twice pushed the lead to six in the third quarter, but Stoughton made a late push, thanks to three-pointers from Jackie Kuhn and Mackenzie McGrath and free throw shots from Daniels, to take a one-point lead into the fourth quarter, 30-29.
Stoughton went on to outscore Notre Dame 17-15 in the final eight minutes.
Daniels led the way for the Black Knights with 15 points and 22 rebounds—13 defensive and 9 offensive.
“[Daniels] had probably her best game of the year,” Sullivan said. “They were giving her a lot of pressure so she not only had to fight that off, [but] she had to do her job offensively and defensively. She cleaned up on the boards but she also had some real key offensive moments for us and she’s tremendous from the free throw line.”
Holland had 11 points, while Chlus had 10. Zuk added 5 points, while Kuhn and McGrath had 3 each.
Bizak led Notre Dame with 16 points. Dalton and McKenna Cudgma had 8 a piece.
Both teams will find out their tournament opponents on Friday.