NEW BEDFORD — The Old Rochester girls basketball team did everything under its control to earn the top seed in the South Coast Conference Blue (large) division.
In the end, it was George Washington who made the final call.
The Bulldogs annihilated GNB Voc-Tech 58-28 on Wednesday night behind 25 points from freshman Cassidy Yeomans, leaving them with a 12-1 record in the South Coast Conference. But Apponequet finished with the same record. They split their two head-to-head matchups. They had the same record in the SCC Blue. There were no more tiebreakers in reserve.
So it came down to a coin flip following Wednesday’s game in GNB Voc-Tech athletic director Ryan Methia’s office. School names were pulled out of a hat to determine who would call it, and ORR coach Bob Hohne selected heads.
A second later, fortune on his side, the Bulldogs were headed to the first-ever South Coast Conference championship game, where they will take on Bourne on the road at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.
“It’s going to be exciting,” Yeomans said.
“As elated as we are, I really feel bad for Apponequet,” Hohne added. “They deserve to be in the championship just as much as we do. I’m definitely proud of the girls, and I honestly believe we’re the best team in the conference, but the conference championship shouldn’t be decided by a coin flip.”
ORR’s defense put the Bulldogs in position for the coin toss to happen — a loss on Wednesday would have handed Apponequet the top spot — holding the Bears to 1-of-19 shooting in the first half as Voc-Tech went more than 17 minutes without a field goal between the first and third quarters.
“They were physical with us,” GNB Voc-Tech coach Mike Prior said. “I thought maybe we could have gotten to the line a few more times. That didn’t happen. When our offense struggles, the defense struggles. That’s the mentality of where we're at and we have to change that. We have to let our defense bolster our offense. We have to move on.”
The Bulldogs held a 10-5 lead with three minutes to play in the first quarter, then embarked on a 24-4 run over the rest of the half, as part of a larger 41-13 stretch that lasted until late in the third quarter. The healthy lead came despite ORR hitting just 2-of-12 3-pointers in the first half.
“Coach always tells us to keep shooting because they’ll eventually fall,” Yeomans said. “We just wanted to press them and run as much as possible. We’re really fast and fast-breaks help our momentum.”
Yeomans led the way early with 17 first-half points — compared to nine for the entire Bears squad — and finished with a game-high 25, with five 3-pointers, five steals and four assists.
“She’s really, totally unselfish,” Hohne said. “She involves everyone else in the game. She has made everyone else better. Because of her effort to include everyone in the offense, we’re a very dangerous team heading into the state tournament.”
WHAT IT MEANS: GNB Voc-Tech falls to 11-8, with a 7-6 record in the SCC that slates them into the No. 3 seed, meaning the Bears will travel to Fairhaven on Friday for the crossover game. … Old Rochester finished 18-2 overall, but 17-1 in games that count toward the state tournament.
YEOMANS ON FORTIN: For the much of the game, Yeomans guarded Fortin in a matchup of two of the SCC’s best guards. Fortin finished with just five points, three of which came on a 25-foot 3-point as the third-quarter buzzer sounded. “You just have to keep her in front of you,” Yeomans said. “She’s a great shooter, but she can also drive. I just tried to stay in front of her.”
BUTLER ON THE BOARDS: Bulldogs sophomore Mary Butler pulled down 10 rebounds to go with five points and two assists. “Mary is just relentless on the boards,” Hohne said. “She jumps well and her timing and anticipation of where shots are going, you can see it.”
ORR STATS: Delaney Soucy grabbed six boards and Brianna Machado had five. Meg Horan nabbed two steals, while Meg Hughes and Jill Higgins each added two assists.
ORR TEAM STATS: The Bulldogs shot 37.9 percent from the field (22-for-58), 26.9 percent from deep (7-for-26) and 58.3 percent from the line (7-for-12) while turning the ball over just 10 times.
VOC-TECH STATS: Abbie Hurley came off the bench to score six points with seven rebounds. Ali Macklin also grabbed seven rebounds, while Kylie Morin snagged five. Lynsey Ramos led the way offensively with seven points, five of which came in the first quarter, while grabbing four rebounds. Sarah Duarte finished with four points, four rebounds and two assists and Tianna Bulgar pilfered three steals.
VOC-TECH TEAM STATS: The Bears shot 18.9 percent from the field (10-for-53), 10 percent from 3-point land (1-for-10) and 87.5 percent from the line (7-for-8), while turning the ball over 18 times, including six times in the second quarter when they were out-scored 20-2.
PRIOR: “We have to get tougher. Now that we’re in Div. 3, it’s not going to get any easier. It shows you have to show up every night. We have to figure some things out. We didn’t run our offense. We didn’t get back on defense. We were a different team tonight.”
SENIOR NIGHT: The Bears honored their four seniors before the game: Duarte, Ramos, Mia Madison and Yanelis Torres. All four got the start alongside Fortin, a junior captain.
NOTES: Ramos hit the first shot of the game 48 seconds after the opening tip and the Bears didn’t hit another field goal until a layup from Sarah Duarte with 5:57 left in the third quarter. They scored seven points in the interim, all from the line. … Hughes thought she was playing soccer at one in the second quarter when she tried to kick a loose ball. Hohne noted to the referee that the fall soccer star might have forgotten what season it was. … In the fourth quarter, Shane Poitras Jr. came out of the stands to help dislodge a ball stuck between the rim and backboard after an earnest attempt by Methia, a former Bears basketball player, came up a few inches short. … ORR scored the first 19 points of the second quarter.
Old Rochester (18-2, 12-1 SCC)
Cassidy Yeomans 25, Meg Horan 10, Meg Hughes 6, Mary Butler 5, Raegan Raposo 4, Brianna Machado 3, Novalye Arruda 3, Kat Tracey 2
GNB Voc-Tech (11-8, 7-6 SCC)
Lynsey Ramos 7, Abbie Hurley 6, Mia Madison 6, Jayda Fortin 5, Sarah Duarte 4
3-pointers: ORR: Yeomans 5, Arruda 1, Machado 1; VT: Fortin 1
Next: The Bears play at Fairhaven at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, while ORR will play at Bourne for the South Coast Conference title at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.
Follow Brendan Kurie on Twitter @BrendanKurieSCT