Sheffield, MA – The bottom line: They just ran out of time.
On Saturday, March 4, Lawrence Academy varsity girls’ basketball fell to the Berkshire School Bears 46-42 in a NEPSAC class-B semifinal match-up.
“We just said to the locker room that we just came off an 11-game winning streak,” said the normally stoic Head Coach Donna Mastrangelo as she composed herself for an on-camera interview. “Yeah, it got stopped today, but that was quite an amazing accomplishment, too.
“As I told them, you’ve got to cherish the things that we’ve done and – from freshmen to seniors – where we have gone in these last two years.
“I told them, ‘How fortunate and how honored you should be, today, to be in this locker room because, I’ll tell you, [just a few years ago] we were just happy to get an ISL win,’” to which she added, “the ride that these kids have given us, the journey that they have given us, has just been tremendous.”
Co-captain Erin Antosh ’17, who will be playing for Division-I Delaware next year, held her head high, refusing to accept that she should be mired in sadness over the defeat.
“I love this team a lot,” said the senior, who recently tallied her 1000th point for Lawrence Academy. “I am really happy with the season that we’ve had. We’ve gone 11 straight since our last loss, until now, and I am proud of our team.
“There’s definitely things that could have been better. There’s always things that you could’ve done better, but I don’t regret anything that happened. I am proud of our ‘fight’, because we fought for everything [we achieved].
“We’ve grown a lot and become closer and looking forward…I hope that [next year’s Spartans] can make it as far and keep on becoming an even better team,” she said.
Coach Mastrangelo knows that will be a tall order, as she loses Antosh, as well as fellow seniors co-captain Abigail Streeter, co-captain Tate Jordan, and Laura Zavrl.
“They’ve been working so hard to be in this position,” said Mastrangelo of the members of the Class of 2017. “You’ve got to talk about the seniors.
“We were lucky, last year, to get Streeter. It was a short run for her with us – only two years – but I’m just grateful that she made LA her destination for high school basketball, because she is a heck of a player. She’s going to do a heck of a job at URI.
“There’s Erin [who] has just been amazing for this program and I can’t wait to see her develop at the college level. She is already an amazing high school basketball player, but once they get her at the college level she’s going to be outstanding.
“Then there’s our four-year senior Tate Jordan – I call her the unsung hero,” added Mastrangelo, speaking to the intangibles Jordan brings to the team, even as she played through injury late in the season.
“She gets the job done for us. She’s come up with steals and layups and things that put our team back in games, put us over the top to win games,” explained Coach Mastrangelo. “For her to come out here today, and take on these top guards…that kind of heart, desire to do what she can for her team has just given us so much through the years.”
Coach Mastrangelo also saved special praise for Zavrl – LA’s emotional catalyst – who just joined the varsity this year.
“She brought to our team – an inspiration, an enthusiasm, a support – that has only lifted us to better heights,” she said.
Of the game itself, Coach Mastrangelo was concise in her critique.
“There were times during this game that they could have folded,” said Mastrangelo of the back-and-forth tournament game. “They didn’t fold.
“They tried to get back into it and they did. They made it a game. They never relinquished and they played right to the end.”
Then, clearly thinking about that hallmark of the 2016-2017 Spartans – that “never say die attitude” – Coach Mastrangelo added: “It’s actually unfathomable that I have to say goodbye to these guys."