NORWELL — Senior Maddie Elmenau joins Rockland High School’s girls’ basketball team for the first time this season.
Over the past few years, including Rockland’s run to the Division 3 State Finals last season, she’s excelled as a spark plug off the bench. The aforementioned state final is a perfect example. In limited time, Hermenau scored her seven points and made many important plays in crunching her time, but the Bulldogs eventually gave St. Marys of Bryn her 46–44 lead. I lost.
So when she hit a cold patch in her new role this season, coach Diana Newcombe asked Hermenau if she was more comfortable off the bench. Hermenau turned down the offer and stayed in the starting line-up.
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It paid dividends on Tuesday night as Rockland (10-2, 8-0) delivered their first South Shore League loss of the season with a 59-45 win over Norwell (11-3, 7-1). Hermenau finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 5 steals, with fingerprints all over the win.
“I loved getting started,” said Hermenau. “I liked to come off the bench to ignite the game. 2018. When I start, I give it my all.”
Hermenau showed his excitement as a starter by scoring 22 goals in the opening game against Notre Dame Academy.
“She’s agile and never stops. She doesn’t stay in one place for too long,” says Newcomb of Hermenau. “The fact that she can hit long shots or go to the rim and finish with her two hands makes us more versatile.”
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Against Nowell, Hermenau finished well around the rim. Her best bucket was a transition from Sydney Blaney’s feed. As she collected the ball, she spun around a flat-footed defender and lifted her left hand off the backboard to complete an unbalanced shot that put Rockland up 36–24. Chloe Richardson answered with a basket to cut the deficit to 10, but the Clippers have never cut the deficit to single digits from that point.
“I’ve made a move like that before and I was[thinking]’Oh, what am I doing now?'” Hermenau said. I really hope it goes well.”
Hermenau was just one of Tuesday’s well-rounded and effective attacking attacks. Freshman Zaria Otley led the team with 17 points, while captains Blaney (11 points, 4 steals) and Maggie Erie (10 points, 10 assists) also performed well. Senior captain Charlie Kelleher scored seven points.
“Execution, spacing and discipline,” Newcombe said of the keys to Rockland’s offense success. “They worked really hard knowing where each other was going. I think it took them 10 games to get there. As you know, if you spread the ball out, your opponent will shoot and it will be difficult to cover.”
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The Bulldogs fired, scoring 20 points in the first quarter and using a 14-2 run to start the game outright. His sophomore at Nowell, Madison Oliver, hit his two free throws to put Nowell up his 4–3. It was the last time the Clippers took the lead.
Otley scored with a backdoor cut on an inbounds play off a feed to Blaney to cause a 14-2 run. Ellie scored an off-feed from Blaney, Elmenau scored a layup, and Otley hit a pull-up 3-pointer to force Nowell into a timeout. Ellie then assisted Kelleher’s three points before Nowell’s Sarah Kashin scored, but Otley’s three points put Rockland up 18–6.
“It feels great,” Ermenau said of Rockland’s aggressive execution. “No matter who has the ball, there are shooters like Charlie, Zariah, Sid, Maggie, and I always drive to the hoop. am.”
Oliver scored a game-high 18 points with 12 rebounds and 3 blocks in the loss. Cassin finished with his 10 points and Chloe his Richardson with his 9 points.
“There wasn’t a single difference. They really beat us every step of the game,” said Nowell coach Matt Marani. “With offensive ends, transitions, grass courts and coaching, they beat us. They were a better prepared team and they performed at a high level. is”
While the Clippers and Bulldogs are no longer in contention for the same league title (Rockland is in the Tobin Division and Nowell is in Sullivan), there was still plenty of potential in Tuesday’s game. In his latest MIAA Tournament Power Rankings, Nowell placed him fifth in the division. 3, one spot above him in Rockland.
Newcombe dismissed the importance rankings early in the season.
“When you have two top teams in the league, if you want to say that, it’s always a battle when they face off,” Newcomb said. “But this is Game 12 for us. Where we are now isn’t necessarily who we will be at the end of the year. I’d be happy if there was a way to do it.”
Marani hopes this is the flip side of last year’s script. I responded to that defeat. Nowell lost in the state quarterfinals.
“We both graduated our kids and it goes back and forth between us,” Malani said. The last two have gone our way and as you can see Rockland responded and entered the tournament so we hope it’s our turn. I hope we can react well to being kicked in the butt and run on our own.”