Telegram & Gazette: Tom Flanagan’s basketball notes: Notre Dame girls preparing for another late-season run
January 26, 2019– By Tom Flanagan
Notre Dame Academy girls’ basketball coach Peter Bogren was so under the weather Thursday night — on his birthday, no less — that he was unable to coach the eighth-ranked Rebels when they squared off against St. Bernard’s in Fitchburg. Bogren’s team came through with a phone call that made the coach’s day, letting Bogren know they won and singing, “Happy Birthday.”
At 7-3, Bogren said he is hopeful his talented and selfless team can begin to play its best basketball of the season soon, and carry it through to the Central Mass. Tournament, and nail down its identity.
“We’re still not really sure who we are at this point, but it’s coming because the girls are working incredibly hard,” said Bogren, who was pinch-hit for in the St. Bernard’s game by assistants Joe Kusz and Rachel Kusz. “We’ve had a couple great wins, and then we’ve had a couple of head-scratchers.”
If the recent past is an indicator, the Rebels are just about ready to flip the switch into postseason mode.
Two years ago, NDA finished the regular season on a 9-1 tear, and last year the Rebels won eight of their final 10 games. “I’m hoping for something along those lines this year, which would put us in good shape,” Bogren said of a potential late-season surge.
Notre Dame has benefited from the experience and solid play of a pair of seniors, Ellie Potvin and Kate Smiley, each of whom was part of an NDA team that three years ago won Central Mass.
Potvin owns the distinction of starting every game for NDA since her freshman year, the only player in Bogren’s tenure to accomplish that feat. Potvin is a skilled and versatile player, as evidenced by her evolution as primarily a post player as a freshman to playing a guard this season. ″(Potvin) is an intelligent player and her basketball IQ is phenomenal,” Bogren said. Bogren calls Smiley perhaps the best rebounder he’s ever coached.
Junior point guard Ally Walker runs the show, while sisters Kara and Abigail Corriveau are among the team’s top offensive threats and round out the starting lineup. “It’s funny to look at our stats and realize we don’t really have a kid who does a lot scoring,” Bogren said. “But, we’re very balanced. We’ve had six different players score in double-figures in a game this year, and, on any given night, it could be anyone of our players leading us in scoring.”
Bogren credited the impact of senior forward Mary Andreoli, who comes off the bench to add critical defense and rebounding, while sophomore Hannah Marzo is able to make a difference on both ends with her quickness.
The Rebels’ depth has been a key in many of their wins this season, Bogren said, lauding the contributions of MacKenzie Terry, Hannah Leahy and Brigid Wickstrom. “This is a fun group to watch and to coach,” Bogren said. “They’re improving, and hopefully, we’ll be our best at the end of the year and make some noise in the (Central Mass) tournament.”