Gauvin, JoJo lead the way
by Steev Riccardo
WORCESTER – The Shepherd Hill Rams used a swarming defense and strong offensive efforts from seniors Tina Gauvin and JoJo L’Heureux to devour Doherty 58-45 and advance to the Division 1 district playoffs, setting up a fourth encounter with archrival Holy Name.
Gauvin had an outstanding shooting night, especially in the second half, when she scored 19 of her team-leading and career-high 21 points to lead the Rams. L’Heureux, who always seems to play big in key games, scored 18 points and added a career-high five steals.
The Rams had a 12-10 advantage after one quarter with L’Heureux scoring six early points.
In the second quarter, the Rams’ defense swarmed the Highlanders, stealing the ball nine times, but failed to convert several times, yet still opened a 23-15 half-time lead.
The Highlanders made a run in the third quarter, but Gauvin connected on a pair of key 3-pointers and the Rams held a 35-32 lead after three quarters.
Senior co-captain Taylor Daniels, who was in foul trouble for most of the second half, came up big in the fourth quarter, connecting on three hoops to complement Gauvin, who continued her hot shooting, which proved to be too much for the Highlanders.
“Our press hurt them, we cashed in on it, and we stuck with it,” said Rams Coach Jim Hackenson. “We started out man to man, we tried the 1-3-1 zone, and we said forget it and we did what we do best (press).”
Hackenson liked what he saw from his seniors. “JoJo had a great game against a pretty good player out there and Gauvin handled the ball very well and then she hit a couple big ones for us.”
Gauvin, who scored 20 points in her last outing against Millbury, topped her career high with the 21 points and was as cool as ever afterwards. “We can’t just rely on one person, if one person is hitting their shots we just keep getting it back to them. Sometimes if I am off someone else will pick it up and if someone else is off I have to pick it up.”
“We are a really small team compared to most other teams so we have to rely on our quickness and the guards and by trapping, which leads to easy baskets,” said Gauvin.
“Tina Gauvin was at the top of her game tonight,” said L’Heureux, who also had her season high scoring output (18 points) to go along with a terrific game defensively.
“In the first half we were making steals and we were giving it back to them, making stupid passes,” said L’Heureux, “but in the second half we really smartened up and started making smarter passes and moving the ball better.”
She credited her teammates for opening up the offense and giving her scoring opportunities. “Taylor Daniels and Dominique Woods were driving the lane and Brooke Packard made some great cuts. They were looking for me and they found me wide open,” said L’Heureux.
The talk soon shifted to the impending fourth match up and seventh in three years against Holy Name, who they have yet to solve.
“The first time we lost by 20 and we keep chipping away and this week we are going to work really hard in practice and pick it up a notch,” said Gauvin.
“I’m ready to win this time,” said L’Heureux. “We are definitely out to get them this time.”
“Back to the drawing board, but I am running out of things to draw,” said Hackenson jokingly. “They (Holy Name) are a good team, we have to play a near perfect game to beat them and that is what we are going to strive to do, because they are good and they are deep,”
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