By John Anderson
If Nashoba were the proverbial monkey of girls basketball, it would be clinging to the back of the lady Rockets, and they just can’t seem to shake this thing.
Auburn lost 66-43 in the MIAA Central Division 2 Semi-Final at Fitchburg State University on Sunday, and this game was over almost before it started. The host Chieftains put up the first points, but Emily Sarkisian answered with a 3-pointer to get Auburn on the board.
With nearly two minutes left in the first quarter, Nashoba led by seven. 2 points by Nathalie Khafaga edged the Rockets a bit closer, but the Chieftains charged down the court and regained the 7-point lead, 19-12.
This game was very physical, and both teams were in the bonus in the second quarter. Nashoba continued to outshoot Auburn and ended the half up 31-23.
After the break, the Chieftains went on a 9-point run and Auburn called a time out with just under 5 minutes to go. As soon as play resumed, Nashoba scored another 2 points. Things were not looking good for the visitors.
The Rockets had some decent scoring in the last 4 minutes including a 3-pointer from Ryanne Burke. She also secured an offensive rebound with about ten seconds left and put up 2 more. Still, her team was behind 54-35 as the third quarter closed.
The Chieftains outshot the Rockets 12-8 in the fourth. When the game was unquestionably lost, Coach Ellen Kaschuluk put all the seniors in together for a few minutes. It was a sad way for these girls to end their high school basketball careers, but they did it as a team, just as they played all season long.
With a minute to go, the Coach pulled her seniors and put in starters Emily Sarkisian and Erin Burke. They were joined by Colleen Cutting, Amanda Bylund and Danielle Hearnlaye. As the seniors headed to the bench they received a rousing applause, a feel good moment for these five terrific ladies.
With all the fouls and bonuses, both teams only scored 12 points each from the line. Baskets were the big difference as Nashoba had 24 to Auburn’s 14. The Chieftains also outshot from three point range, 6-3.
Individually, sophomore Emily Sarkisian lead her team with 17 points, two 2’s, two 3’s, and seven free throws. She takes a beating in the paint in competitive games, and she has to be making a name for herself.
Erin Burke had 8 points while sister Ryanne logged 7 including one 3. Amber Abderrazzaq scored 5, Nathalie Khafaga had 4, while Lyndsey Gabrielian and Colleen Cutting each scored 1. The season may be over, but it was filled with many highs and only a few lows. Yes, they lost to Shrewsbury, Quaboag and Nashoba, but rematch victories against Shepherd Hill and Notre Dame were inspiring. A 15-7 record is nothing to be ashamed about!