The Bedford High School girls’ varsity basketball team finished 2023 with a 59-57 victory over Wilmington in the championship game of the Romano Christmas Tournament at Tewksbury Memorial High School.
After three weeks, the 4-0 Bucs finally get to play at home when they host Lincoln-Sudbury this Friday at 7 p.m.
Bedford, which defeated Chelmsford High in overtime to reach the finals, prevailed with balanced scoring, ball security, and a big advantage from the foul line.
“When we play fast and tough on defense with real unselfish play from all 14 players, we have an opportunity to win each game,” asserted Head Coach Jim DeBenedictis. “We have a lot to work on, but I am confident that these athletes have bought in.”
The key sequence unfolded with about four-and-a-half minutes to play. In a back-and-forth battle, Wilmington had the ball, trailing by three. Bedford’s Bridget Sheahan stole a pass under the basket and fed Ashley Cohen on a fast break. The freshman found Mackenzie Tierney underneath for a layup-and-one. Her free throw gave Bedford a 55-49 lead, enough of a cushion to finish on top.
DeBenedictis was impressed by the team’s resilience, as the Wildcats shot the lights out in the first half, making seven of 12 and leading 15-10. The Bucs fought back to take a 32-30 halftime lead, primarily thanks to an 11-1 advantage from the foul line.
Wilmington led 46-45 after three quarters, and then Bedford began to pull away with Cohen scoring seven of her 20 points and Bedford corralling six offensive rebounds. Senior Cassie Morrison had four boards in the period and neutralized Wilmington’s go-to junior, Eva Boudreau.
Sheahan was a force from start to finish. She scored 15 points, converting four of six from the floor and seven of 10 from the line with nine rebounds and three steals. Tierney scored 10 points and added four steals, Madison Tierney contributed six boards and two steals. Wilmington turned the ball over 19 times, Bedford only 12.
“Senior leadership has been so key to our early success,” DeBenedictis said, adding, “There were lots of key contributions from our bench,” including a third-quarter three-pointer by Isla Sheridan, a freshman.