By John Anderson

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During the regional grade 7 girls travel basketball playoffs on Saturday, March 5th, #1 ranked Auburn (12-0) matched up against #4 Marlborough (7-5) in the semifinals at Auburn High School. Assistant Coach Matt Benoit summarized the game, “Marlborough made it tough for us in the first half by mixing up its defenses. After a halftime adjustment, we opened the second half on an 8-0 run and never looked back.” Auburn won 41-26.

In the other semi-final game, #2 Millbury (9-3) defeated #3 Northbridge (9-3) 26-18 at Shaw Elementary School in Millbury. Benoit stated, “Millbury absolutely dismantled Northbridge with set plays on offense vs. man-to-man defense. At the other end, Millbury’s defense was sensational, causing defending champion Northbridge to settle for low percentage shots all game after having to expend its energy breaking Millbury press each possession.”

In the final on Sunday, March 6, at AHS, #1 Auburn (13-0) defeated #2 Millbury (10-3) 38-25. Benoit told Auburn Mass Daily, “Auburn held Millbury scoreless for the first 12 minutes of the game, and I’ve never seen that level of defensive intensity in 9 years of coaching Auburn travel. Our girls were locked in, focused and determined to win their first championship from the moment they entered the building. Millbury showed a lot of heart, but they were shorthanded and in foul trouble early. It was our strategy to stay aggressive in transition to deplete Millbury’s energy over the course of the game and it ultimately worked to our advantage.”

Both Auburn and Millbury now qualify for the State tournament to be held March 19-20. Auburn will play two games tomorrow at 10:50am and 2:20pm at Governor’s Academy at 1 Elm St. in Byfield, MA. Sunday’s schedule depends on Saturday’s performance.

This year’s team consists of: Mia Dellostritto, Maura Donahue, Amanda Loftus, Callie Messina, Ally Morawski, Zoey Picard, Kasey Simmons, Isabella Therrien and Rachel Ullstrom. The Head Coach is Emily Morgan and the Assistant Coach is Matthew Benoit.

Good Luck Girls!