QUINCY — Saturday night turned into a celebration of North Quincy High School basketball.
The unbeaten girls picked up an 80-57 victory over Masconomet while the boys retired late to defeat Northampton, 85-62, in a pair of Division 2 Round of 32 games.
“We’re coming off an abbreviated season last year, the tournament wasn’t even on the radar,” North Quincy boys coach Kevin Barrett said. “For those two things, to be back in an atmosphere like this and to have the girls have the success that they have, it’s just great for our school community and for the Quincy community in general.
Continued:Find all the markers and highlights from the MIAA South Shore High School Tournament here (March 5)
Sophomore Orlagh Gormley stole the show in the girls’ game. She set a new high school city record (Boys and Girls, North and Quincy High) by starting for 56 points. Gormley said it was the biggest crowd she had ever played in front of.
“There was a solid buzz around this group of kids after those first six games and it just continued to snowball,” North Quincy girls coach Matt Ramponi said. “It’s such an honor for them.”
Daithi Quinn, a sophomore star for the boys, has put together his own show. Having tasted the tournament for the first time, he helped the Raiders open the game on an 11-0 run by scoring 7 points (rookie Kobe Nguyen had the other 4). He launched a thunderous slam dunk following a robbery just outside the student section.
Continued:A pair of aces: Orlagh Gormley and Daithi Quinn revitalized North Quincy High basketball
The Raiders, whose lead was only 53-47 in the third quarter, pulled away largely under the play of seniors Ethan Gao (15 points) and Qunonuw Scott (11 points). Both point totals were career highs.
The Raiders will both host their Division 2 Round of 16 matches (date, time TBD). The girls will play the No. 9 Pentucket while the boys will play the No. 9 Walpole.
Gormley has game
It didn’t take long for Gormley to take over on the girls’ side. She scored North Quincy’s first 16 points. The sophomore captain had 22 points in the first quarter, 17 in the second, 9 in the third and 8 in the fourth quarter.
Continued:So far so good: North Quincy women’s basketball made history with 22-0 regular season
She broke the city record, which was previously held by Brian Ross of North Quincy (54 in 1998), less than 90 seconds into the fourth quarter with a quick-
layup break. Doug Scott of Quincy, and current Quincy College men’s basketball, scored 53 points in 2009 and was there for Gormley’s brilliance.
“I’m not surprised by anything she does,” Ramponi said. “People don’t understand, it’s her shifting that makes her very difficult to cover. She’s not doing anything out of the ordinary, but she has the ball attached to her like a yo-yo and she’s working on it. She devoted time to it all year, all her life. That’s what she likes.”
Continued:A reason to encourage each of the 54 South Shore basketball teams at the MIAA tournament
Gormley was not one to bask in the glory of her individual performance, instead she immediately diverted the credit elsewhere when asked about the match.
“We did it as a team, it was a total team effort,” Gormley said.
If she had a game ball to give away, Gormley said Ava Bryan and Bridget Capone were worth mentioning. Capone scored 4 points, but she was strong defensively on the ball. Ava Bryan had 6 points and was strong on the glass.
Sophomore Caroline O’Donnell (6 points, 9 rebounds) provided a jolt from the bench.
“She can do it, we just have to give her the ball and she can go to work,” Gormley said of O’Donnell.
“She’s a great, great kid,” Ramponi, of O’Donnell, said. “She works hard and she’s physical. We needed someone to be physical and she really stepped up for us.
Seniors are mobilizing
After the Boys’ win, Barrett said this team could be his deepest yet. To allocate playing time, the Raiders employ a starting five, which plays for the first and third quarters, and a closing five, which ends the halves. Saturday, it was the last five who led the way. Gao and Scott had career nights in the goalscoring category while Nikko Martel, a senior captain, controlled the attack. Big man Dylan Clifford had 4 assists.
Quinn remains on the ground with both units. Nguyen, Zach Taylor, Nate Caldwell and senior captain Colm Geary were the starters.
Continued:HIGH SCHOOL ROUNDUP: North Quincy Boys’ Basketball earns first win over WH since 2008
“It’s probably the deepest team I’ve had in 17 years,” Barrett said. “We have kids who deserve so many minutes and the chemistry has kind of developed over time. (Playing two units is) not something that we really rolled with the first five or six games, but as we kind of settled through games like 7-15, we just sort of hit our stride and everyone kind of bought into it.”
Farmers excelled in both quarters. This group turned a 2-point lead in the first quarter into a 43-34 advantage at the break. Caldwell hit a 3-pointer on a pass from Nguyen (8 assists) to push the lead to 66-56 after three, but closers pushed the lead even further. With the game underway, the end of the bench even had a few moments to shine, like when second 5-7 Will Conley drained a pointer, much to the delight of the crowd.
Gao, best known as a sniper, scored effectively at all three levels.
“He’s one of the best kids I’ve had in 17 years in terms of knockdown,” Barrett de Gao said. “We had all the confidence in the world. We had performed some tricks to get him free, and then he made great reads of it. When the defense shuts down he’s improved and his game has progressed to the point where now we trust him to put it down and then do a read or pass or take a shot on the dribble, which he couldn’t do in sophomore or even junior. It’s a testament to all the hard work he put in.
Scott finished with 11 points and 7 rebounds. Three times he scored on a backdoor, cutting off a flow from Clifford in the post. He defended with effort too. Several times during the fourth quarter, Northampton tried to roll the finish on the floor to save time, but each time Scott was there to force a pickup.
“Q and everyone else, especially the seniors, are locked up,” Barrett said of Scott. “I think it was indicative of that game where he probably could have just rolled over and sat down in the half court, but he was aware enough to get up and keep the clock from not starting.”
Taylor finished with 9 points and 5 assists. Caldwell added 8.