Last game for Rams seniors
Text and photos by Steev Riccardo
WORCESTER – The Shepherd Hill Rams girls' basketball team was eliminated from the District 1 playoffs by a familiar foe last week Tuesday night at Clark University, when they went down for the fourth time this season to the Holy Name Naps 55-33.
Along with another loss to an excellent Holy Name team came a final game for the team's seven seniors, some of whom have been a big part of this basketball team for the last few years.
Among those seniors were co-captains Taylor Daniels and Tina Gauvin, and forward JoJo L’Heureux, all starters, all big time contributors, and all hard shoes to fill.
The Naps wasted little time in gaining control of the semi-final contest by opening a 21-8 lead after one quarter, despite two early 3-point bombs by Gauvin.
The Rams could only score four points on baskets by sophomore Ciara McKissick and Daniels in the second quarter and were faced with a 19 point 31-12 half time deficit.
Even though the Rams played the Naps evenly in the third quarter (9-9), they couldn’t gain any ground on a team they just couldn’t beat this year, suffering their fourth loss to them and third by 20 or more points.
“Our nemesis against them has been turnovers,” said Rams coach Jim Hackenson. “They are long, the ball gets tipped a lot, too many turnovers and we couldn’t get enough shots.”
“They (Holy Name) are a good team, their guards are quick and their forwards are strong and they are only juniors. They are the benchmark for what a good team is, it’s something we can aspire to be and hopefully we can find a solution next year.”
Even though Hackenson was thinking ahead, he was really happy with how his team played this year. “I’m proud of my kids, I thought we had a great year. I just told my seniors it's been nice having them and that is coming from my heart.”
‘They have been with me for a while and they have been through bad times and good times and we have only really had one bad year with them,” said Hackenson about his co-captains Daniels and Gauvin.
Even Holy Name’s sophomore sensation Gigi Guenther, who had nine points for the Naps in the elimination game, will miss the Rams co-captains. “Its sad seeing Tina and Taylor lose in their last game, I feel bad, but it's good for us. I do like playing against them though, it's different.”
You could see the emotion on Daniels's face after the game, following an excellent four-year career under Hackenson.
“It didn't feel like my last game until the game was actually over,” said Daniels, who finished with a team-high 10 points. “It didn't feel real. Four years of high school basketball went by so fast. It is the worst feeling knowing I will never be playing with that group of girls ever again, or never putting on that Shepherd Hill uniform.”
The Rams finished a very successful season with a 15-7 record, four of those losses at the hands of the Naps.