Newhall: Our Best Season Ever: St. Mary’s Girls Basketball Holds Awards Banquet

“When St. Mary’s High School girls basketball coach Jeff Newhall calls it “our best season ever,” you know it’s been one for the all-time record books.

Newhall made that declaration at the team’s awards banquet held outdoors July 15 at Rolly’s Tavern in the Square. There was much to celebrate: a 2020 Division three state championship, a record-breaking 25-2 record, and titles in the Hoosac Valley Christmas Tournament, Boverini Tournament, Coaches Versus Cancer (South Carolina), Spartan Classic, and North Sectionals – along with a victory over Rockland in the state semifinal at the TD Garden.

Newhall was joined by his assistant coaching staff of Jim Foley, history teacher extraordinaire Mike Jalbert, Victoria Ault, Allison McCarthy, and Tim Spinney in honoring the state champions.

St. Mary’s administrators James Ridley and Jacqueline Foley extended the congratulatory wishes to the team from the school.

 “From start to finish, in my opinion, this was the best season we’ve had, not just because what happened with wins and losses – but we really had limited to no issues the whole year,” said Newhall. “It’s a real tribute to the girls and the senior leaders on this team. I hope our younger student-athletes picked up one or two things that you saw that worked to keep the team together.”

 Each player received several gifts in recognition of being a state champion, including a replica of the “MIAA State Champions” trophy, which is really an impressive piece of hardware.

Newhall presented the major individual awards to Co-MVPs Gabby Torres and Maiya Bergdorf, Offensive Player of the Year Olivia Matela, Unsung Player Nicolette D’Itria, Coaches Award recipient Jannise Avellino, and Spartan Award recipient Alyssa Grossi.

Rising sophomore guard Yirsy Queliz, who was unable to attend the banquet, was the recipient of the Most Improved Player Award.

After receiving her Unsung Player award, D’Itria credited the seniors for their leadership.

“I thank the seniors for leading a great team to a great season and keeping the team together and always pushing us to do our best, the same with the coaches – I just want to thank them all, especially Coach Newhall and Coach [Tim] Spinney,” said D’Itria.

St. Mary’s is regarded as one of elite girls’ basketball programs in the state. During the last 10 years, the Spartans have averaged 20 wins per season, which is anything but average: it’s exceptional.

The Spartans should be right back in state title contention next season with the return of Maiya Bergdorf, a Division 1 (Sacred Heart) commit who is ranked among the top five players in Massachusetts; the North Shore’s premier backcourt of Nicolette D’Itria and Yirsy Queliz; and outstanding reserves Alyssa Grossi and Van Nguyen.

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