By Jack Blessington and Lexi Nelson
The Newton South girls’ basketball team is set to face Brookline at home in the first round of the division one south section of the state tournament at 6:30.
The Lions currently sit at 14-3 and are now ranked tenth in the state of Massachusetts. They were awarded the sixth seed for their regular season performance.
The Lions have been having one of the best seasons in school history, qualifying for the state playoff tournament halfway through their season after a win at Acton-Boxborough.
The state tournament follows a single-elimination format, with a loss resulting in immediate elimination from the playoffs. With such high stakes riding on each game, every play counts. But the Lions are not letting the pressure get to them.
“Obviously the pressure of winning is on our minds, but as long as we go out and play our game, we’ll be fine,” says Silva.
Junior Guard Veronica Burton (Link to her profile) has played a large role on the Lions’ success. Her electric scoring has powered the offense all season.
With the regular season over, the team has been preparing for the Brookline Warriors.
“We have been working really hard in practice,” sophomore guard Frankie Silva said. “Our coach [Joe Rogers] always says that games are won in practice. I think everyone on the team really takes that to heart and so we try to practice as hard as we play in games.”
As well, players reflect on how practices have changed due to their playoff goals.
“[There is] A new level of focus has been brought each day to practice.” Burton said. “The team has spent a lot of time in practice fixing their weaknesses.”
Rebounding has been an area of concern for the Lions due to their lack of size.
“The weakness of rebounding mainly just stems from effort and constantly boxing out. We’ve done a lot of rebounding drills in practice to hopefully improve in our game,” Burton said.
Coming off a tough 54-44 loss to Westford, South looks to regroup and bounce back with a win.
“After each loss, we’ve done a good job bouncing back and improving on our areas of weakness,” senior captain Ali Nislick says.