It was billed as a showdown of the third and fourth-ranked teams in eastern Massachusetts, but the St. Mary’s High School girls basketball team decisively outplayed Cathedral, beating its Catholic Central rival, 89-64, Friday night at the Tony Conigliaro Gymnasium.
Junior Maiya Bergdorf and senior Oliva Matela each recorded career highs in the impressive victory. Bergdorf, clearly one of the top players in Massachusetts, scored 32 points and pulled down 18 rebounds in a superb performance.
Matela was particularly clutch in the second half, demonstrating her long-range shooting skills to the tune of 23 points, including five 3-pointers.
Senior Gabby Torres (12 points) also made a strong contribution while guards Yirsy Queliz and Nicolette D’Itria consistently took advantage of offensive opportunities with baskets and swift, accurate passes to the open player.
Cathedral Coach Clinton Lassiter, who has two Division 1 commits and McDonald’s All-American Game nominees (Ariana Vanderhoop and Mackenzie Daleba) on his roster, likely wasn’t expecting a 25-point margin on the scoreboard. In fact, Cathedral rebounded to blitz Archbishop Williams, 88-57, Tuesday night. Williams is the only team to defeat Jeff Newhall’s powerful contingent this season.
“This was a showdown, 3 and 4 in the rankings,” said Lassiter. “St. Mary’s did what they do – they made shots and they defend well. Giving up 89 points in uncharacteristic of us. Typically when you score 64 points, it’s a good game, but St. Mary’s made their shots. He [Newhall] does a great job getting his team ready to play and you have to commend him for that.”
Lassiter was impressed by St. Mary’s ability to locate the open player on offense.
“They play well as a team, they swung the ball from player to player around the perimeter and hit their shots,” said Lassiter. “And [Matela] lit it up in the second half. [Bergdorf] had 20 in the first half, so we neutralized her a little bit in the second half, but [Matela] hurt us. We look forward to playing St. Mary’s again. I hope the result is different.”
Lassiter said his two senior stars will not announce the Division 1 women’s basketball programs they will be joining until the end of the season. “The Division 1 offers are a testament to how hard they work,” said Lassiter.
St. Mary’s continued its torrid 12-game winning streak with a 74-44 win over Austin Prep Monday night. St. Mary’s (12-1) qualified for the State Tournament with the victory.