Three years ago, Pentucket and Archbishop Williams met at the TD Garden in the Division 3 girls’ basketball championship game, and the Sachems left holding the trophy.
Monday, the teams met again, and this time it was a different result.
Second-ranked Archbishop Williams gained a bit of revenge, turning up the defensive pressure to defeat defending champion Pentucket, 52-38, on the parquet.
“We try to wear down the other teams, [but] especially this time of the year teams are tough to wear down because they know if they lose that’s it,” Archbishop Williams coach Jim Bancroft said.
“They suck it up, they play through it. But I think the consistent defensive intensity from the beginning, I think it actually did start wearing them down in the fourth quarter.”
The Archies (22-5) held Pentucket to 4 points in the third quarter and then began to pull away, taking a 47-36 lead on a Leah Spencer bank shot in the final period.
Archbishop Williams built an 8-2 lead in the first quarter, but Pentucket (24-2) fought back to to take a 9-8 lead on a pair of free throws by Tess Nogueira (8 points). The Archies responded with a 10-0 run, capped by a Jaylen Williams layup at the buzzer that gave them an 18-9 lead.
Pentucket stormed back again, opening the second quarter on a 7-2 run to cut the deficit to 20-16. The Archies led, 26-21, at halftime.
The Archies’ size was too much for Pentucket as they won the rebounding battle, 46-20.
“We knew we had to limit their second-shot attempts,” Bancroft said.
“During the year we usually get a ton of rebounds, but we’ve had a tendency of giving up a ton of rebounds by not blocking out. And I just told them, ‘If you want to win this game, you’ve got to box out, you’ve got to get a body, and then you’ve got to attack the ball.’ ”
Sophomore forward Alana Gilmer led the Archies with a game-high 12 points.
“I’m so proud of [my teammates],” said senior guard Sara Ryan, who struggled from the field. “They work so hard in practice and they really deserve it. They deserve this so much more than I do.”
Pentucket senior Nicole Viselli, the Cape Ann League MVP, suffered an ankle injury in the second quarter and was never able to get into a rhythm. She finished with 3 points.