Girls’ Basketball Season Comes to an End with Close Loss

March 5, 2024

The 2023-24 Bedford High School girls’ basketball season – the second best in the annals of the program – came to a disappointing end on Friday with a 43-38 loss at home to Leominster in the opening round of the MIAA Division 2 post-season tournament.

But veteran high school Head Coach Jim DeBenedictis, in his first year with the Buccaneers, wants everyone to know that “this season was so much more than that loss.”

“I couldn’t be prouder of how hard they played and how they fought until we ran out of time,” he said “These athletes care, they are competitive, and they love being part of this team.”

Friday’s game was close all the way, to be expected from a matchup of seeds 16 and 17. Bedford’s biggest lead was 10-7 with five minutes to play in the second quarter, but the girls turned the ball over several times and Leominster finished the half with a 9-2 run and never trailed again.

BHS, with a record of 17-4, relied on the outside game for a lot of this season’s success. But the Blue Devils’ length and defensive pressure on the perimeter “took us out of what we like to do,” said the coach. Bedford missed 22 of 25 attempts from outside the arc.

After trailing 16-12 at halftime, Bedford fell farther behind, then clawed its way back to within two points on a couple of Cassie Morrison free throws. But on the other end, senior Nicole Kelly drained a three-pointer and Leominster finished the quarter leading by five. In the fourth quarter, Bedford never got closer than four.

Bridget Sheahan led Bedford with 16 points on six-for-seven shooting and four-for-four from the line, along with nine rebounds and six steals. DeBenedictis said all season Sheahan “was our anchor at forward who had to deal with opponents outsizing us regularly. But she continued to give us an inside presence on offense and defense.” The coach said Sheahan will be playing at Wellesley College next winter.

Ashley Cohen, Dual County League co-player of the year, scored 10 points for the Bucs with five rebounds and two steals.

“We had a 17-4 season, including the DCL Foley championship and winning the Romano Christmas Tourney,” DeBenedictis said. DeBenedictis was honored as the DCL Coach of the Year. He noted that the four senior starters all were named DCL league or conference all-stars:  Morrison, Sheahan, Mackenzie Tierney, and Madison Tierney.

Freshman Ashley Cohen scored 310 points this season. Photos bedford_buc_yearbook/

The firth starter, Cohen, “never played like a freshman since the first day of tryouts,” DeBenedictis asserted. “She is quiet about going out and beating her opponent. Unlimited shooting range, an ability to get to the basket, and a fire to play hard on defense.” 

Cohen scored 310 points as a freshman. The last BHS basketball player of any gender to surpass the career 1,000-point scoring mark was Samantha Cowan, class of 2014.

“This was a great year, and our future looks strong as well,” declared DeBenedictis.

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