Sunday morning at the Nobles School in Dedham Massachusetts, the Dublin Lady Wildcats faced off versus the Master's School of Connecticut for the NEPSAC Class E Championship. Master's School has been one of the top teams in NEPSAC's all year, gaining the number one seed in the Class E tournament. In the New England Prep School Athletic Conference, this Sunday has been deemed Super Sunday, as each of the division championship games happens throughout the day.
The Master's School, lead by MVP Victoria Santiago jumped up to an early 8-3 lead over the Wildcats with a handful of offensive rebounds and second-chance points. Dublin answered right back with a 6-0 run of their own when senior Clare Fowler knocked down a pair of shots as well as tallied an assist to teammate Amani Natson. From the early moments of the game, you could see how both teams had reached the Championship. The lead would change three more times over the next five minutes, as each team continued to make play after play. After a Santiago basket and a Yellings three Master's would push their lead to seven points, 22-15 with seven minutes to play. Over the next four minutes, both teams would evenly trade baskets, maintaining the Master's lead 29-22 with 2:45 left in the first. Bette Imhoff facing tenacious defense all game, was able to get back to back baskets for the Wildcats as Dublin determinedly worked to close out the half strong. Josie Switzer after being fouled shooting a layup calmly stepped to the line and swished both free throws to cut the lead to just 1. On the very next play, Yellings gets back to the foul line for Master's and sinks both herself, now with just twenty seconds remaining. With time ticking away in the half, Clare Fowler once again finds Amani Natson for a basket, just beating the buzzer. 33-32 Master's going into the half.
Master's strikes first once again, with a big three-point field goal to start the half. Dublin answers right back to tie the game up at 36, with layups from Seo In Cho and Stella Davis. Masters hits again from long range, as MVP Victoria Santiago starts to heat up knocking down a foul shot, followed by a tough fade away jumper from the post. For the third time this game, Clare Fowler again finds Amani Natson for an easy two-point bucket pulling the Wildcats yet again within three. Master's continues their red-hot shooting as Yelling's knocks down her teams seventh three-point field goal of the game. Stella Davis once again steps to the line for the Wildcats (3-10 FTs) and after missing her first shot was immediately met by two reassuring teammates that could sense her frustration. "It was really impressive to see the way our team stuck together today," Coach Dicruttalo said after the game. "The girls all rallied by each other and did a great job of showing what makes this team so special." Stella knocks down her very next free through, cutting the Masters lead to just 5 points with 8 minutes to play. After another Masters basket, Dublin once again found themselves down by 6, when Bette Imhoff (8 assists) would find Josie Switzer on back to back plays to bring the Wildcats within two points.
Yellings (22 points) and Santiago (24points) continued to make tough shots throughout the remainder of the half on their way to claiming the NEPSAC Class E Championship. Dublin continued to play hard until the final horn sounded and showed everyone watching what they were really made of. "When Bette and Stella both fouled out with just over four minutes to play, I looked at both Captains and said we will need your leadership now more than ever. I was delighted when I would look back to our bench for the remaining four minutes of the game, that both of those young women were actively involved keeping our team together. It would have been very easy for them both to mentally check out once they fouled out, but to seem them support our underclassmen and stay engaged with the team, was a great reflection of the type of character kids we have here at Dublin."
Final Score The Master's School 72 The Dublin School 56.