Friday, March 7, 2014
This is what Championship Saturday is all about: Waynflete, the best offensive team in Western C, against Madison, the best defensive team in the bracket.
Waynflete, led by guards Martha Veroneau and Rhiannan Jackson, has averaged 71 points over two tournament games. Madison doesn't put up those kind of numbers, but the Bulldogs' opponents are shooting 22 percent (28 for 125) this week in Augusta. Saturday's game, for the Western C girls title, starts at 7:05 p.m., at the Civic Center.
Both teams are used to getting this far. Waynflete is playing in its fourth regional final since 2009, while Madison won the Western C title in 2008 and 2010.
"They're scrappy," Waynflete coach Brandon Salway said. "Al does a great job with them. Year in and year out, they're always here."
The difference is that Waynflete has gotten this far, but no further. The last three regional final appearances for the Flyers were all losses.
"It's been motivating for us for a while," Salway said. "We've been to the regional final three out of the last four years, and we haven't quite got over the hump. This group really wants to do it. They've put in extra time."
While Madison defeated Old Orchard Beach in overtime Thursday, the Bulldogs still committed 29 turnovers against OOB's all-out pressure. If anything, Waynflete will kick that pressure up another notch.
"With Veroneau leading the pressure," Madison coach Al Veneziano said, "we're going to have to make sure that we control the basketball, move the basketball, and don't force things, and make sure that we take some good shots."
Sam Bruce, Cristie Vicneire, and Kirsten Wood have been Madison's top scorers in the tournament. The Bulldogs have been without starting forward Alex Jarvais (knee injury) since December, but have been getting solid rebounding from Bronte Elias and great minutes off the bench from players like Courtney Taylor and Emily Oliver.
"I think our bench can come in and give us some good minutes," Veneziano said. "We've got to make sure that they understand the pace they have to play at."
Another key, Veneziano said, is recognizing that Waynflete can score quickly, and for the Bulldogs to keep their composure when that happens.
"I think you have to know that they're going to score points," Veneziano said. "We just have to make sure that we're playing the best defense that we can. One basket's not going to end the game. We've got to play the whole game through."
Madison has four seniors -- Bruce, Taylor, Allie McClintock, and Erika Parker. Waynflete has three, including Veroneau. One of the state's most dynamic players, Veroneau will attend Boston College this fall but will not play basketball.
"Every practice could be the last practice, so that's not lost on anybody," Salway said. "They want to extend the season, that's for sure."
Matt DiFilippo -- 861-9243