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Brookline players stood shoulder to shoulder during the singing of the national anthem. Leon Yang / Sagamore Staff

Brookline players stood shoulder to shoulder during the singing of the national anthem. Leon Yang / Sagamore Staff

Brookline players stood shoulder to shoulder during the singing of the national anthem. Leon Yang / Sagamore Staff

Girls basketball falls in hard-fought contest on emotion-filled Senior Night

February 25, 2016

Brookline players warm up before their game against Needham on Feb. 25, 2016. Leon Yang / Sagamore Staff

Energized by T.I’s song “Bring Em Out,” which blared out of the loudspeakers in the Schluntz Gymnasium, Brookline’s girls varsity basketball team stormed onto the court to warm up for their seniors’ last game of the season on Thursday, Feb. 25 against the Needham Rockets.

Though the Warriors played with emotion and intensity, they ultimately fell to Rockets by a score of 48-36, ending their season with a record of 7-13.

Before the game, Brookline recognized seniors on both teams. They handed yellow bouquets to the Needham seniors and crimson ones to their own. Brookline seniors Noa Dalzell, Alicia Landry, Ashanti Syed, Olivia Mosquera and Brooke Overton took photos with their families and were introduced by the booming voice of stadium announcer history teacher Malcolm Cawthorne. Both teams lined up to listen to the national anthem, which was sung by Mosquera and Syed.

Brookline senior captain Noa Dalzell (left) and Needham junior Kara Petronio (right) face-off during the opening tip. Kay Takinami for the Sagamore.

The Rockets started off the game strong, going on an 11-0 run that included a four-point play by senior captain Kathleen Rizzo. Brookline came out of the gate with high tempo play, but was futile in many scoring chances .The Warriors played aggressively, running for loose balls and playing strong interior defense. However, the Rocket’s perimeter shooting was crisp; nine of their first quarter points came from shots behind the line. Needham’s lead extended to 17-2 at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter started slowly, with neither team scoring in various fast break opportunities. Rizzo scored Needham’s first points in the quarter with another three pointer. Needham extended their lead to 22-2 before the Warriors went on a 6-0 run to cut Needham’s lead to 22-8 with 2:33 left in the second quarter. Senior Noa Dalzell and sophomore Jojo Roudebush contributed during this scoring surge. Later in the quarter, freshman Serena Smith added a three of her own. However, Needham proved relentless, and at the end of the first half, the score was 29-11 in favor of the Rockets.

Seniors on the Cheer squad stood together with their coaches during halftime. Leon Yang / Sagamore Staff

Seniors on the Cheer Squad stood together with their coaches during halftime. Leon Yang / Sagamore Staff

During halftime, Brookline Cheer Squad seniors Anna Montoya, Deray Castillo and captain Ashley Rocker were recognized. They were given flowers and gathered to take a photo with their coaches. Throughout the entire game, the Cheer Squad chanted energetically, instilling within the gymnasium a hue of vivacity.

The Cheer Squad performed during a break in the action. Leon Yang / Sagamore Staff

The Cheer Squad performed during a break in the action. Leon Yang / Sagamore Staff

In the second half, Brookline tightened its defense, especially in the paint. However, Needham’s outside shooting proved deadly, with freshman Marianna Jantzen knocking down a three. Later, Smith took it the length of the court, weaving and maneuvering around defenders for a layout, but Needham had a response in the form of another three pointer. Needham brought their lead up to 43-17, their largest lead of the night.

Brookline would prove resilient, scoring nine straight points, including seven straight points by Dalzell, three of which came from a deep jumper. Needham rebounded themselves, and the third quarter ended with the Rockets still with a lead, 45-26.

Needham began the fourth quarter with a quick three by junior Jill Waters, but this proved to be the Rocket’s last points of the night. The Warriors ended the game strong on a 10-0 run, but were not able to overcome their deficit, falling 48-36 in a hard fought contest.

Brookline head coach Allison Toney recognized how much this game meant to her team.

“It was a very emotional night and I think the emotions got the best of us for a while,” Toney said. “We missed shots that on any other night but tonight probably would have gone in.”

Toney also said that she appreciates the seniors, who she said helped establish a legacy for the basketball program.

“I think that fact that they (the seniors) are so emotional means alot to me because it shows how important basketball is to them, and they did a lot to help build the program,” Toney said.

Freshman Serena Smith said she appreciates the seniors for the way they accepted her onto the team. She also said that she enjoyed playing with her team this season.

“We had our ups and downs, but overall they’re wonderful girls,” Smith said. “We play well with each other, and we did a great job.”

Senior Ashanti Syed said that she was glad to spend her last game with her teammates.

“It’s my final season with high school basketball,” Syed said, “and I’m just really happy that I got to play it with my team.”

Brookline players stood shoulder to shoulder during the singing of the national anthem. Leon Yang / Sagamore Staff

Brookline players stood shoulder to shoulder during the singing of the national anthem. Leon Yang / Sagamore Staff

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