Dooley leads Lee to big Western Mass. girls hoops victory

Saturday March 2, 2013

LEE -- Five-foot, three-inch players don't often dominate in high school basketball.

But that was the case Friday night, as Lee point guard Eileen Dooley completely controlled the contest both offensively and defensively in an overpowering 70-24 win over New Leadership in a Western Mass. Division III girls quarterfinal.

Dooley came within two rebounds of not a triple-double, but a quadruple-double. She scored 18 points, had 11 steals, dished off 10 assists and grabbed eight rebounds.

The visiting Wildcats were athletic and quick. But their basketball I.Q. lagged badly behind the home Wildcats. Lee played the passing lanes all night, and picked off, by unofficial count, 28 passes.

Lee's Stephanie Young scored 28 points, mostly either wide-open jumpers from the elbow or put-backs, as the visitors relied far too much on their leaping ability and eschewed blocking people off the boards.

"We knew they'd be quick," said Dooley of New Leadership. "We knew we'd need to get out on the break. I thought they ran the ball well tonight, but their main problem was finishing."

"For us it was a matter of taking care of business," said Lee coach Gary Wellington. "Run the plays and get out with a win.

"They're a very young team. It's a shame they're closing down [at the end of the year]. They have some good players."

Wellington was referring to the school's Board of Regents' decision this past fall to shut the school's doors in the wake of declining academic performance.

Lee jumped out to an 11-0 lead after three minutes, due in large part to their all-court pressure. The New Leadership guards crumbled under Lee's double-teaming and gave up the ball a half-dozen times without crossing halfcourt.

Speedy guard Tanar Gervais finally got behind the Lee defense for a layup to break the ice, but Lee didn't really let up. It was 20-4 after a quarter.

Young was coolly efficient in the first half. She hit seven of 11 shots in that span and was five-for-six from the line for 20 points (one of the shots was a 3-pointer).

New Leadership showed a little spark in the second period, hitting a couple of buckets and nailing five of eight free throws. But they still fell farther behind, as both Young and Dooley scored nearly at will. Lee led, 37-16 at intermission.

New Leadership's offense shut down in the third, however, as the Wildcats went 5:30 without a point, turning the ball over and giving up countless offensive rebounds. Lee's Courtney Picard collected a total of 17 rebounds in the game to lead both teams.

Wellington cleared his bench at that point.

Gervais had nine points to lead the visitors. She added a team-high six rebounds. New Leadership only had three assists on the night.

Young pulled down 11 rebounds for Lee.


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