Senior captain/guard Marianna Jantzen (3) fights off a defender and drives the ball to the rim.
By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Sophomore sensation guard Kiki McIntyre has been an X-factor for the Needham High girls varsity hockey team all season long, helping lead the Lady-Rockets to a 15-5 regular season record.
Friday night was no different, as McIntyre put home a game-high 20 points to help guide the Needham girls to a convincing 57-41 victory over Bishop Feehan in the Division I South quarterfinals.
Needham began the game on a 5-0 run, but Feehan fought back with an 8-2 run of their own to take an 8-7 lead. Sophomore forward Caroline Klemm (11 points) banked home a layup just before the buzzer. The Lady-Rockets reclaimed the lead at 9-8 at the end of one.
That’s when McIntyre really began to take over for Needham.
The sophomore swished home a pair of three-pointers to give the Lady-Rockets an 18-10 lead and force Feehan to a timeout. Following the brief break, Needham continued to pour it on via a pair of layups by senior captain/forward Julia Evans (six points), culminating a 13-0 run. The Rockets extended their lead to as many as 13 and entered the half with a 26-14 advantage.
Bishop Feehan began the second half sharply, trimming the deficit to 26-20. However, McIntyre was there to give Needham the response it needed by nailing a three-pointer, followed by an athletic steal at mid-court transitioned to an easy layup. Klemm added a layup, followed by an athletic three-point play by senior captain/guard Marianna Jantzen, allowing Needham to take a 10-point lead into the final quarter at 39-29.
A 10-2 run by Needham to begin the fourth all but sealed the deal as McIntyre nailed a two-point fade, followed by two straight buckets from Jantzen, one from Klemm, and one from Evans. The Rockets kept their foot on the gas all the way to the finish line, sinking seven of nine free throw attempts in the final three minutes and emerging with the 16-point win.
At the time of print, Needham will take on No. 1 Bridgewater-Raynham on March 5 for the right to face the winner of Wellesley/Braintree in the South finals on March 8.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0.